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
Since 2016, more than 15,000 people nationwide have been reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with hepatitis A, and 140 have died. This is a dramatic increase in hepatitis A infections and is caused by person-to-person spread of the virus. Hepatitis A is a highly contagious liver infection. Large-scale outbreaks have been reported in several states, including Utah and California. Since it is on the rise, it’s a good time to check your immunization status and get the vaccine if you still need it.
What are some of the most common symptoms of hepatitis A?
Symptoms can include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, diarrhea, clay-colored stools, and yellowing of the eyes and skin (jaundice). People with hepatitis A can feel sick for several months.
How do you get hepatitis A?
Hepatitis A virus can be picked up from objects, surfaces, food, or drinks contaminated with fecal matter from an infected person. Hepatitis A can also be spread through person-to-person contact with an infected person by having sex or caring for someone who is ill. Continue reading
If you ate any food or drank any beverages or used the restroom at any of the following facilities during the dates listed below, you may have been exposed to hepatitis A:
- Sonic Drive-In, 971 North Main St., Spanish Fork, from Saturday, Dec. 23, 2017, through Sunday, Dec. 24, 2017.
- Olive Garden, 1092 North Canyon Parkway, Spanish Fork, from Thursday, Dec. 21, 2017, through Saturday, Dec. 30, 2017.
- Tabitha’s Way Local Food Pantry (South County), Spanish Fork, from Thursday, Dec. 28, 2017, through Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2018. Non-canned food and drink only.
- 7-Eleven, 2666 West 7800 South, West Jordan, from Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2017, through Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2018.
- Fountain drink or self-serve beverage.
- Fresh fruit.
- Any item from the store’s hot food case, such as pizza, hot dogs, chicken wings, or taquitos.
- Packaged items, including bottled beverages and microwaved foods, are NOT implicated in the possible exposure.
Anyone who thinks they have been exposed should contact their healthcare provider and possibly get vaccinated. Continue reading