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Increase in Hepatitis A Cases Concerns Ohio Health Officials


A large increase in Hepatitis A cases in Ohio has health officials concerned. There have been 47 cases of the highly contagious liver infection confirmed this year compared to just five cases at this same time last year.

Health officials say there’s no one reason for the jump in Hepatitis A. It’s not spread through casual contact. Among those at greatest risk are people in direct contact with someone who already has it, those who use street drugs and men who have sex with men, says Ohio Department of Health epidemiologist Sietske De-Sijter.

“It’s usually spread when a person ingests fecal matter and it’s very small amounts from contacts with objects, fruits, or drinks, contaminated with the stool of an infected person," De-Sijter said.

She says people in the high risk groups, including those who have traveled to places where the virus is prevalent, should get vaccinated.

The symptoms of Hep A include fatigue, nausea, stomach pain and jaundice. It can make people feel sick for several months, but they usually recover without lasting liver damage. In rare cases, it can be deadly.