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Health officials investigating Hepatitis A outbreak in North Alabama

Symptoms of Hepatitis A may not appear until 15 to 50 days after exposure.

Posted: Dec 26, 2018 2:10 PM
Updated: Dec 26, 2018 10:51 PM

On Wednesday, the Alabama Department of Public Health announced a Hepatitis A outbreak in Jackson County, which may have spread to nearby counties.

A vaccine exists that can reduce the risk of developing Hepatitis A. Health 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.

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, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health.

“We are in the early stages of this investigation, but we need to make sure everyone knows the importance of getting vaccinated and taking health precautions including good hand-washing,” said Medical Officer Dr. Karen Landers in a statement released Wednesday afternoon.

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.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Hepatitis A is an infection of the liver that is not lifelong like other forms of Hepatitis.

Some people in Jackson county told us the outbreak concerns them, because they haven't been vaccinated to protect against it, "It is scary to think that is a possibility here," said Jane Jones of Jackson County.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Hepatitis A can live outside of the body for months and is very resilient, which is one reason it is so contagious. It also may not show symptoms anywhere from 2-7 weeks, which also contributes to how contagious it is.

Jones is a caretaker. That makes her even more concerned about the outbreak, "I could pass that along to my mom, or an elderly person who surely doesn't need to have that," said Jones.

The vaccine for Hepatitis A started being given widely in 1995, so if you were born before then and never had the vaccine you need to be cautious of the outbreak.

In 2018 several state saw outbreaks of Hepatitis a related to restaurants. The Alabama Health Department told us that is not the case with the outbreak here, so far.

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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 162720

Reported Deaths: 2735
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson23940385
Mobile17123319
Tuscaloosa10602141
Montgomery10503199
Madison955798
Shelby760565
Baldwin676869
Lee664965
Calhoun476562
Marshall447451
Etowah441952
Morgan430835
Houston423934
DeKalb355429
Elmore327858
St. Clair311342
Limestone297031
Walker287493
Talladega276437
Cullman266525
Lauderdale240543
Jackson225317
Autauga212631
Colbert210232
Franklin209432
Blount200925
Russell19833
Chilton192332
Dallas189227
Dale184952
Coffee183611
Covington177329
Escambia175831
Clarke138717
Chambers138047
Tallapoosa137287
Pike136414
Marion110931
Barbour10559
Marengo104622
Butler101941
Winston94713
Geneva9427
Pickens89018
Lawrence88533
Bibb86115
Randolph84616
Hale78130
Cherokee76414
Clay76312
Washington75812
Henry7316
Lowndes72128
Monroe66310
Bullock65117
Crenshaw61230
Fayette59913
Perry5996
Cleburne5799
Conecuh57213
Wilcox57112
Macon54320
Lamar5235
Sumter48621
Choctaw39512
Greene34516
Coosa2173
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 256880

Reported Deaths: 3263
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby37335570
Davidson32679345
Knox1319395
Rutherford12406115
Hamilton12175112
Williamson738756
Sumner6371113
Wilson492063
Putnam461059
Montgomery438960
Out of TN427836
Sullivan398150
Madison391880
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Blount351536
Sevier349722
Maury345839
Robertson268143
Hamblen254750
Tipton246623
Dyer233638
Unassigned22306
Gibson222749
Coffee198726
Hardeman193133
Greene187654
Obion185523
Anderson181314
Bedford178920
Trousdale17899
Dickson176319
Fayette175925
McMinn171238
Lawrence170720
Loudon169012
Cumberland166927
Carter166636
Wayne16197
Weakley161026
Jefferson160424
Monroe152129
Warren150711
Lauderdale149517
Henderson144126
Hardin143522
Roane14208
Macon138125
Franklin133623
Haywood132028
Hawkins127228
Overton126120
White125214
Johnson11927
Marshall119011
Carroll116926
Cocke115014
McNairy115029
Rhea114119
Campbell110413
Cheatham109712
Bledsoe10344
Smith103214
Giles100738
Lake9904
Lincoln9453
Fentress94411
Crockett90722
Henry83712
Hickman82915
Marion81210
DeKalb78617
Chester74115
Decatur67911
Grainger6364
Grundy58712
Union5554
Claiborne5437
Polk54013
Unicoi4775
Jackson4716
Humphreys4654
Morgan4587
Lewis4425
Benton43410
Cannon4322
Houston43117
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