Let’s take a moment to reflect on your day. How many times did you wash your hands today? Did you wash them before eating? How about after using the bathroom? What about the food you ate today? Did you prepare it yourself, or did someone else prepare it? Did that person wash their hands before preparing your food?
Depending on how you answered these questions you may have put your liver at risk for getting hepatitis A.
Idaho has seen a 950% increase of hepatitis A cases reported this year . . . 950%! And Idaho is not alone in the increasing hepatitis A cases; 26 other states are also experiencing an outbreak with no signs of slowing down.
So, you might be asking yourself, “What’s the big deal? Is this really something I need to be worried about?” The answer is yes. Continue reading
Public health officials are investigating an outbreak of hepatitis A in southern Idaho. Twelve people infected with hepatitis A virus have been reported to public health officials since Jan. 1, 2019. In 2018, only eight people were reported with hepatitis A in Idaho. Epidemiologists are working to determine possible links between the cases and are encouraging people in high-risk populations to get vaccinated.
Hepatitis A vaccination is recommended for people who might be at increased risk of being exposed to the virus, including:
- Men who have sex with men
- People who use drugs (injection or non-injection)
- People experiencing unstable housing or homelessness
- People with chronic liver disease, including cirrhosis, hepatitis B, or hepatitis C
“We’re monitoring the situation closely,” said epidemiologist Randi Pedersen. “The best protection is to be vaccinated, but everyone can reduce their risk by practicing good hand hygiene. This means thoroughly washing your hands after using the bathroom, changing diapers, and before preparing or eating food.” Continue reading