XENIA — Due to continuing concerns about cases of Hepatitis A being reported in the statewide community outbreak by the Ohio Department of Health, Greene County Public Health officials want to share what Greene County is doing to keep you safe, educated, and informed.
Hepatitis A is a viral illness that affects the liver and causes fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, clay -colored bowel movements, joint pain and jaundice. Symptoms usually appear within two to six weeks after being exposed.
The virus leaves the body through stool (poop) and is transmitted primarily person -to-person through the fecal -oral route . It is not spread by kissing, sneezing or saliva. Hepatitis A is not typically caused by food, but an employee who has been infected by the virus and has improperly handled the food.
So far in 2018, there have been four confirmed cases of Hepatitis A in Greene County. In 2017 there was one case, and in 2016 there were five cases.
While anyone can g et Hepatitis A, investigations have shown that the homeless, drug users and men who have sex with men, and those who have contact with them, are most at risk. Persons 25 years of age and older are also at increased risk as they are more likely to be unvaccinated for Hepatitis A.
What you can do to prevent Hepatitis A:
1. Thorough hand washing with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds after using the restroom and before preparing and eating food.
2. There is a vaccine to prevent Hepatitis A. Individuals may contact their doctor , local health center, or pharmacy to discuss the Hepatitis A vaccine.
Public Health is providing educational materials and outreach for those at high risk. The GCHD will continue to monitor cases of Hepatitis A in the commu nity to determine if there are any direct links between the cases and will provide interventions to break the chain of infection as deemed appropriate.
Community partners are encouraging the vaccine and providing education on Hepatitis A to at- risk residents. For more information on Hep A, call Greene County Public Health at 937-374- 5600 or www.odh.ohio.gov/hepa or htt ps://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/hav.