There's a Sudden Increase of Hepatitis A in Ohio

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There's a Sudden Increase of Hepatitis A in Ohio
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Ohio has been added to a growing list of states experiencing a spike in cases of Hepatitis A.

A release from the Greene County Public Health Commissioner on Tuesday notes there are currently 31 active cases in Ohio. To compare, there were only four reported cases around this time in 2017, two in 2016, and five in 2015.

These drastic increases are occurring in neighboring states as well, with Kentucky and Michigan hit the hardest. More than 300 people have been infected in Kentucky while Michigan has reported more than 800 cases of Hepatitis A. Given the close proximity of the two states, Ohioans should do all that they can to prevent contracting the virus.

Hepatitis A is a relatively common virus compared to Hepatitis B and C that can infect the liver. In a majority of cases, the infection goes away on its own and doesn't lead to long-term liver problems. However, Kentucky has reported at least three deaths related to the virus in addition to Michigan's 25.

Children under the age of six will likely not show any symptoms of Hepatitis A, but adults will likely show symptoms about 15-20 days after exposure. According to the American Sexual Health Association, symptoms include (but are not limited to):

  • Low-grade fever
  • Malaise (feeling of ill-health)
  • Fatigue (feeling tired all the time)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Dark-colored urine
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes)
Luckily, Hepatitis A is easily prevented from common sense public health practices like washing your hands, getting vaccinated, and checking your partner's health before any sexual contact with the anus. While easily preventable, Hepatitis A is also highly contagious and can be spread through contact with an infected person's fluids or stool, tainted food and contaminated water.

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