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Health officials: Jackson and DeKalb counties still at risk in Hepatitis A outbreak

An update on the Hepatitis A outbreak in North Alabama.

Posted: Feb 1, 2019 5:29 PM
Updated: Feb 1, 2019 5:47 PM

On Friday, health officials told WAAY 31 they believe a Hepatitis A outbreak in North Alabama is contained to Jackson and DeKalb counties. 

Jackson and DeKalb counties are still at risk, and officials say people need to be aware and take precautions. They say it doesn't look like cases have spread to other counties. 

Since our last update in January, the Alabama Department of Health has given out hundreds of vaccinations to at-risk populations, including the homeless and people who use illegal drugs. A pharmacy owner in Section said he's given out 80 vaccinations in the last month and 30 of those qualified as free through the state.

Karen Landers with the Alabama Department of Health said data is still filing in, but they're doing what they can to keep the number of  Hepatitis A cases down.

"By increasing our surveillance of cases as well as increasing our vaccine effort, these are both proactive measures by the part of the Alabama Department of Public Health, who can hopefully reduce this outbreak and keep it very very small," said Landers.

The incubation period for Hepatitis A can be anywhere from two to six weeks, making it difficult to know if their efforts are making a difference. Hepatitis A is passed person-to-person and is curable.

People who contract the virus don't suffer life-long problems, like in some other forms of hepatitis. Officials say it's 100 percent preventable.

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