State releases hepatitis A report


According to data released Aug. 10, there have been 364 confirmed cases of hepatitis A in Indiana and one confirmed death related to a multi-state outbreak of Hepatitis A.

That report also indicated Jackson County has experienced five confirmed and two unconfirmed cases so far this year.

Clark County continues to have the most cases with 69, followed by Wayne County’s 60. Lawrence County is third with 48, followed by Floyd County with 44, Washington County with 17, Harrison and Orange counties with 14, Allen County with 10, Marion County with nine, Elkhart County with eight, Grant and Kosciusko counties with six and Crawford, Fayette, Vanderburgh and Monroe counties each with five.

The state began tracking hepatitis A cases in November 2017 after an acute outbreak of the virus. Typically, the state sees an average of 20 cases in a 12-month period.

Transmission of Hepatitis A is presumed to occur person to person. Based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and the Indiana State Department of Health website, populations who are homeless, transient, incarcerated or use illicit drugs and their close direct contacts are considered at increased risk of exposure to hepatitis A.

The Jackson County Health Department has been actively monitoring possible cases throughout the county, and staff sent informational letters to food establishments and worked closely with eating establishments to conduct environmental assessments of the facilities and their food preparation procedures.

The health department also has conducted an immunization clinic at the Jackson County Jail in Brownstown and has two other clinics planned in the near future to provide the vaccine in outlying areas. Hepatitis A vaccine (which is a series of two immunizations, six months apart) is covered by many insurance policies.

To reduce the risk of hepatitis A transmission, the public is encouraged to receive the vaccine either at the health department or from their private health provider. Also, the public is encouraged to wash their hands with soap and water after going to the bathroom, after changing diapers and before preparing meals.

Symptoms of hepatitis A include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, tiredness, stomach ache, fever, dark-colored urine, light-colored stool and jaundice. Anyone experiencing symptoms is advised not to attend school or work and contact their health care provider.

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