Health Officials Investigating Two New Hepatitis A- Related Deaths

After two years, the deadly outbreak of hepatitis A in San Diego has officially come to a close, according to Dr. Wilma Wooten, San Diego County's public health officer.

Lexington had 13 new confirmed cases of hepatitis A last month, which has brought the statewide total to 35 in the statewide outbreak.

Jeffrey Howard says vaccination is the best way to prevent the disease. Symptoms include loss of appetite, nausea, tiredness, fever, stomach pain, brown-colored urine, and light-colored stools. People infected with the virus can have some or none of these symptoms, and it could take up to seven weeks for symptoms to appear after exposure.

DPH identified the increasing number of cases as an outbreak in November 2017. "Hand sanitizer is not as effective as soap and water against the hepatitis A virus". The infection is passing through person-to-person contact, health officials believe. Around two-thirds of the cases involve drug use and 20 percent have no risk factors noted, he said.

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Hepatitis A spreads when someone ingests the virus from objects, food or drinks contaminated by an infected person's stool.

Multiple states are experiencing outbreaks of acute hepatitis A. For the current US outbreaks among people reporting drug use and/or homelessness and their contacts, vaccination is recommended.

The Franklin County Health Department said the two had medical conditions that made the disease more severe. Per Kentucky Administrative Regulation (902 KAR 2:060, ) children must receive the hepatitis A vaccine in order to attend schools or daycare centers.

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