Vaccination Urged for People at Risk for Hepatitis A

Montgomery County is seeing an increase of Hepatitis A cases. So far in 2018, there have been 11 cases of Hepatitis A in Montgomery County. In 2017 there was one case and in 2016 there were no reported cases. Public Health – Dayton & Montgomery County is encouraging people to get vaccinated.

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?

  • those with direct contact with individuals infected with the virus
  • travelers to countries where the virus is prevalent
  • 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

“The best way to prevent Hepatitis A is to get vaccinated,” said Dr. Michael Dohn, Medical Director, Public Health – Dayton & Montgomery County. “Proper and frequent hand washing is also a key factor in controlling the spread of disease.”

Individuals who are concerned about Hepatitis A should contact their doctor, healthcare provider or Public Health for information about vaccination at 937-225-5700. 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.

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