Vaccinations against Hepatitis A urged

MIAMI COUNTY — Ohio and surrounding Midwest states are seeing an increase in cases of Hepatitis A in 2018. According to the Ohio Department of Health, the number of cases Hepatitis A in Ohio has increased to 81 cases this year from 45 cases in 2017. So far this year, there are no reported cases in Miami County, but some surrounding counties have seen an increase in cases.

“The best way to prevent Hepatitis A is to get vaccinated”, said Miami County Health Commissioner Dennis Propes.

Hepatitis A is a vaccine-preventable liver disease that usually spreads when a person ingests fecal matter—even in small amounts—from contact with objects, food, or drinks contaminated by the stool of an infected person. Hepatitis A also can spread from close personal contact with an infected person, such as through sex.

Symptoms of Hepatitis A include fatigue, low appetite, stomach pain, nausea, clay-colored stools and jaundice. Most people who get Hepatitis A feel sick for several months, but they usually recover completely and do not have lasting liver damage. Sometimes Hepatitis A can cause liver failure and death, although this is rare and occurs more commonly in people older than 50 and people with other liver diseases.

Who is at greater risk for Hepatitis A?

· men who have sex with men

· people who use street drugs, whether they are injected or not

· people with blood clotting factor disorders

· people with chronic liver disease

· household members and other close contacts of adopted children newly arrived from countries where Hepatitis A is common.

· those with direct contact with individuals infected with the virus

· travelers to countries where the virus is prevalent

Individuals who are concerned about Hepatitis A should contact their doctor, healthcare provider or contact Miami County Public Health for information about vaccination at 573-3518.

People who know that they have been exposed to someone with Hepatitis A should contact their healthcare provider or Public Health to discuss post-exposure vaccination options.

Individuals who experience symptoms of Hepatitis A should contact their healthcare provider.