Ohio Joins ‘Heartland’ States With Hepatitis A Alert
Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, West Virginia previously reported hepatitis A cases during 2018
If you are at risk of contracting Hepatitis A, the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) is encouraging people to get vaccinated.
This announcement is because Ohio has already reported 47 hepatitis A cases during 2018.
This ‘non-outbreak’ compares to 5 cases during the same timeframe in 2017.
To become classified as an official outbreak, at least 2 cases must be linked to a common exposure source.
However, several states located in the ‘Heartland’ of the USA, including neighboring states of Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan and West Virginia have reported hepatitis A cases during 2018.
Some of Ohio’s hepatitis A cases are linked to these outbreaks, says the ODH.
“The best way to prevent hepatitis A among high-risk individuals is to get vaccinated,” said ODH Medical Director Dr. Clint Koenig.
“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the hepatitis A vaccine for all children at age 1 and for at-risk individuals.”
“Some of the at-risk Hepatitis A groups include persons who travel to countries where Hepatitis A is common, persons who have chronic liver disease or a clotting-factor disorder, persons with occupational risk factors, and persons who use illegal drugs,” said Natasha Gildersleeve, PharmD MTM Clinical Pharmacist at Brookshire Grocery Company.
“Ask your doctor or your pharmacist if you need to be vaccinated against Hepatitis A," said Gildersleeve.
People who know that they have been exposed to someone with hepatitis A should contact their healthcare provider or local health department to discuss post-exposure prophylaxis options, said the ODH in a press release.
For people who do have contact with a person with Hepatitis A virus, Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) is recommended by the CDC for unvaccinated people who have been exposed during the previous 2 weeks.
Hepatitis A is a vaccine-preventable, communicable disease of the liver caused by the Hepatitis A virus reports the CDC.
The CDC says Hepatitis A is a self-limited disease that does not result in chronic infection. Most adults with hepatitis A have symptoms, including fatigue, low appetite, stomach pain, nausea, and jaundice, that usually resolve within 2 months of infection.
In the USA, there are three FDA approved hepatitis A vaccines: Vaqta, Havrix, and Twinrix.
Most pharmacies, such as Walgreens, Rite Aid, Walmart and Kroger Little Clinics offer hepatitis vaccines.
Vaccines, like any medicine, can have side effects, says the CDC. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of vaccines to the FDA or CDC.