GALION — The Ohio Department of Health has declared a statewide community outbreak of hepatitis A after an increase in cases linked to certain risk factors.
Ohio is reporting 79 hepatitis A cases associated with the outbreak so far this year, almost double the number of cases reported during all of last year.
The Galion City Health Department carries the Hepatitis A vaccine. Please contact the health department at 419-468-1075 to set up an appointment or if you have questions regarding Hepatitis A or the vaccine.
Hepatitis A is a liver disease that usually spreads when a person ingests fecal matter — even in microscopic amounts — from contact with objects, food, or drinks contaminated by an infected person.
Symptoms of hepatitis A include fatigue, low appetite, stomach pain, nausea, clay-colored stools and jaundice.
People with hepatitis A can also experience mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe illness lasting several months.
Neighboring states, including Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan and West Virginia also are experiencing outbreaks. By declaring an outbreak, the Ohio Department of Health will have access to additional hepatitis A vaccines through the Centers for Disease Control.
“Good hand-washing and vaccination are the best ways to prevent hepatitis A in at-risk individuals,” said Sietske de Fijter, state epidemiologist and chief of the ODH Bureau of Infectious Diseases, in a news release. “If you or someone you know has one or more risk factors for hepatitis A, call your local health department to see about getting vaccinated.”
People at an increased risk for hepatitis A are those who travel to countries where the virus is prevalent, those who have direct contact with individuals infected with the virus, people with chronic liver disease and people with blood clotting disorders.
Editor’s note: Information for this article was gathered from the City of Galion Health Department website and other sources.