December 2, 2016

Hepatitis A Outbreak on Oahu Sickens 12

Hepatitis-A-virus-under-microscope

A Hepatitis A outbreak on Oahu has sickened 12 people, hospitalizing six of them, according to the Hawaii State Department of Health. Onset of illness dates have ranged from June 16 through June 27, 2016.

Hepatitis A is a virus that is usually transmitted through contact with an infected person’s stool. It can be prevented with a vaccine. Symptoms of an infection include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, abdominal discomfort, dark urine, diarrhea, and yellow skin and eyes. These symptoms last between three to eight weeks. Sometimes people who are infected show no symptoms.

Although most chcildren have been vaccinated, most adulst have not, said  State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park. “Healthcare providers have been informed and asked to notify us immediately if they have a patient they suspect may be infected. Treatment for hepatitis A infection is supportive only, and while most people will recover without complications, we are encouraging everyone to review their immunization record and talk to their healthcare provider about vaccination.”

Hawaiian health officials remind residents that Hepatitis A vaccine is readily available at local pharmacies. Two doses of the vaccine, given at least six months apart, are required.

A food source of the outbreak has not been identified. However, poke, a raw fish salad, is one of the suspects.

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