AL Dept. of Public Health: Hepatitis A outbreak spreading in North Alabama

Officials say homeless persons, illegal substance users and men with same sex partners are the most at risk to contract Hepatitis A.

Posted: Jan 9, 2019 9:31 AM
Updated: Jan 10, 2019 1:15 PM

The Alabama Department of Public Health released a statement Wednesday morning that it is continuing to investigate multiple hepatitis A cases in Jackson and DeKalb counties.

A warning was issued that the outbreak may spread to other nearby counties. Officials say homeless persons, illegal substance users and men with same sex partners are the most at risk to contract Hepatitis A, which can spread easily among unvaccinated persons. People in close contact with someone who has contracted the illness are also at risk.

The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) has received 1,750 doses of vaccine, 1,200 for Jackson and 550 for DeKalb. Vaccine is being administered to high risk persons as defined by the CDC. More vaccine will be ordered and administered as the response continues.

“As the outbreak continues to grow, we need to make sure everyone knows the importance of getting vaccinated and hand-washing,” said Medical Officer, Dr. Karen Landers.

Good hand-washing practices should be observed. Symptoms of Hepatitis A may not appear until 15 to 50 days after exposure and can include fever, headache, fatigue, low appetite, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, dark urine or jaundice.

Anyone who experiences symptoms should contact a healthcare provider and use measures to prevent spreading the foodborne illness that can last anywhere from a few weeks to several months.

To reduce the spread of hepatitis A, the Alabama Department of Public Health says the following precautions should be taken:

* Get vaccinated

* Wash hands

* Do not share drug paraphernalia, cigarettes, food, drinks, eating utensils, towels or toothbrushes.

APP USERS: Click here to learn more about Hepatitis A and the outbreak.

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