January 22, 2020

Hepatitis A Outbreak in Clarke County, Alabama

The Alabama Department of Public Health is investigating three cases of hepatitis A in Clarke County, Alabama. Two of the people sickened do have a history of international travel, which increases the risk of contracting this disease. There is no more information about whether this may be a larger outbreak or if any single source is responsible for the spread of the virus.

Hepatitis A VialCasual contact does not cause infection. The virus is spread when a person drinks contaminated water or eats contaminated food. Objects can also be contaminated when they are touched by an infected person; another person must touch that object and put their fingers in their mouth. The transmission is “fecal-oral”.

Signs and symptoms of hepatitis A infection appear 2 weeks to 50 days after exposure. They include mild fever, nausea, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, and tiredness. Other common symptoms include dark urine, light clay-colored stools, jaundice, and pain in the upper right side of the abdomen. To prevent spread of this virus, wash hands after using the bathroom and changing diapers, before eating, and before food preparation. If you are ill, stay home and do not prepare food or drink for others.

Many people recover within a few weeks, but others, especially those with liver problems, can become seriously ill with liver inflammation. If you do live in Clarke County and have experienced these symptoms, please see your doctor as soon as possible, or call the Clarke County Health Department at 251-275-3772.

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