Jefferson County holds information session regarding second largest Hepatitis A outbreak in U.S.

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It’s a growing epidemic in our area.

Hepatitis A cases have been reported all over Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Kentucky.

As of September 9th, there have been 32 confirmed cases of Hepatitis A just in Jefferson county— contributing to the growing number that has placed Ohio in second place for largest outbreak.

So, Jefferson County Health department held an educational session today.

In that meeting they released numbers stating that there are over three thousand three hundred confirmed cases in Ohio, spanning 82 of the 88 counties. There’s also been 16 deaths from Hepatitis A.

If you don’t know what Hepatitis A is, it’s a contagious virus that affects your liver, which can lead to severe liver problems.

We saw a big spike in our cases earlier this summer. So, we went out to places where people who are most at risk tend to congregate, and we offered vaccination clinics on sight.

NICOLE BALAKOS
JEFFERSON CO. HEALTHY COMMISSIONER/

That vaccination prevents the virus. And the officials say because of this, they’re working diligently to get it in the arms of anyone considered at risk. And for that population, that vaccination is free.

It is typically people who are drug users, the homeless or transient living, men who have sex with men, those types of populations. But really it comes down to basic hygiene and hand washing.

NICOLE BALAKOS
JEFFERSON CO. HEALTHY COMMISSIONER

If you do not fall under any of those categories, don’t worry yet. The best preventative, aside from the vaccine, is warm sudsy water, not an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

There are at risk populations versus the general public. So, it’s not something that people need to panic about. But basic hand washing is really the key.

NICOLE BALAKOS
JEFFERSON CO. HEALTHY COMMISSIONER

Luckily, many children are already vaccinated. If you we’re born before the vaccine was created in 2005, however, you may not have recieved it. So, if you are exposed, you have 14 days to get a private vaccination before you are infected.

Actually, I have not seen anything firsthand from our schools. A lot of our students are immunized against hepatitis A. So, we have not seen any incidents of it, but we would always like to be prepared if that would come our way.

KATIE LONG
DIST. NURSE TORONTO CITY SCHOOLS

A person can have Hepatitis A for up to two weeks before showing signs. During that time, they can spread the virus to others.

Common symptoms include, fever, fatigue, nausea, dark urine, and being jaundiced. If you are experiencing symptoms, or may have been exposed, you’re urged to seek medical attention.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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