News

Hepatitis A on the Rise in Butler County

Posted on: January 1, 2019
Tags: Butler County

Contributor(s): Tyler Adams

 

This past year, Butler County has seen a rise in hepatitis A cases.  The Butler County Health Department reports that as of December 10th, there have been 214 outbreak linked cases.  This is an enormous amount compared to previous years.  On average, Butler County has only seen 1 case per year, the past 5 years.

What is hepatitis A?

Hepatitis A is a highly contagious viral infection which affects the liver.  It can last a few weeks to several months.  It is usually spread through food, drinks, or objects that were contaminated by feces of an infected person or someone in close personal contact with the infected.  The virus can also be spread by drug use, sex with infected partners, and not washing your hands properly.

Who is at Risk for hepatitis A?

  • IV and other illicit drug users, including marijuana
  • Those incarcerated or recently in jail
  • Those experiencing homelessness
  • Men who have sex with men
  • Those having sexual contact with someone who has hepatitis A
  • Those who live or work with someone who has hepatitis A

What are the symptoms of hepatitis A?

  • Jaundice of the skin and eyes
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Feeling tired or loss of appetite
  • Stomach pain
  • Grey stool
  • Dark urine

Can it be prevent or treated?

There is no cure for hepatitis A.  Once the virus is contracted, treatment includes rest, good nutrition, fluids, and medical monitoring.  Hepatitis A rarely causes lasting liver damage and most individuals recover fully after a few weeks to several months. 

The best course of action is to prevent the disease by receiving a vaccination.  Hepatitis A is vaccine-preventable.  It is important for individuals at higher risk and those living or working closely with them receive this vaccine.  Primary Health Solutions and other local health organizations and pharmacies are able to provide these vaccines.  Talk to your healthcare provider about receiving the vaccine.

You can also prevent the spread of hepatitis A by washing your hands thoroughly with soap and water after using the bathroom, changing diapers, and before eating or preparing food.

 

For more information and to keep up with the outbreak in Butler County, view the Butler County Health Department’s website by clicking HERE and to get schedule your vaccination call 513-454-1111.