October 23, 2021

Gaston County Hepatitis A Outbreak Warning in North Carolina

Officials are warning the public about a Gaston County hepatitis A outbreak that may have started in the homeless and drug using population but now has spread to the general public and includes some people who were sickened after eating at food businesses. The Gaston County Health Department in North Carolina urged vaccination against this virus last month.

Gaston County Hepatitis A Outbreak Warning in North Carolina

According to the Gaston Gazette, a huge spike in cases has occurred in just the first three months of 2021. There were just 33 cases in the county from 2018 to 2020, but more than 120 cases of hepatitis A have been diagnosed this year so far. Officials would not name the businesses that may be involved in this outbreak.

And more than 70% of these cases have required hospitalization. Hepatitis A can seriously damage the liver, especially in people who already have liver disease and who are immune compromised.

Ellen Wright, Communicable Disease Supervisor for the Gaston County Health Department said in a statement, “We’ve really never seen anything like this. The case numbers are the highest we’ve seen and continue to climb. While our homeless population, incarcerated individuals and those using drugs are the most impacted right now, it only takes one person working in a restaurant or other public-facing industry to cause a large-scale community outbreak. We have to do everything we can to get high-risk individuals vaccinated so we can prevent the spread.”

The best way to prevent the spread of this virus is to get vaccinated. Depending on your health status and age, you can get the hepatitis A vaccine or the immune globulin vaccination. Your doctor will know which one you should get.

Symptoms of hepatitis A appear 15 to 50 days after exposure. The really difficult thing about this infection is that people are infectious for two weeks before any symptoms appear, so they don’t even know they are potentially spreading it. The symptoms include a fever, nausea, fatigue, weight loss, loss of appetite, stomach pain, abdominal pain in the upper right quadrant, dark colored urine, light clay-colored stools, diarrhea, and jaundice.

If you have been experiencing these symptoms, especially if you live in that area, see your doctor. You may be part of this Gaston County hepatitis A outbreak.

The Food Poisoning Attorneys At Pritzker Hageman 1-888-377-8900

If you or a loved one have been sickened with a hepatitis A infection and live in Gaston County, North Carolina, please contact our experienced lawyers for help at 1-888-377-8900 or 612-338-0202.

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