Hepatitis A Outbreak

As of December 13, 2018, the Illinois Department of Public Health is reporting 75 cases of Hepatitis A statewide so far this year. This is higher than usual and 17 confirmed cases were not associated with international travel or foodborne related. These cases are among individuals at high risk for infection – including men who have sex with men (MSM), homeless individuals, and /or those who use drugs. Most of the outbreak cases are among men and the majority have been hospitalized. For more information, see http://dph.illinois.gov/hepatitisA
Hepatitis A Virus (HAV) is the most common cause of viral hepatitis worldwide, and it is one of the most frequently reported notifiable diseases in the United States. It is spread predominantly by direct person-to-person contact by the orofecal route or by the ingestion of contaminated food or water. It is highly contagious and spreads rapidly between individuals in prolonged close contact, in schools, institutions, and army camps. Sexual and household contact of an individual with acute HAV is among the most frequently identified risk factors.  The majority of those infected have asymptomatic or unrecognized infections, but some become very ill.

How is hepatitis A treated?

Unvaccinated individuals with recent exposure should receive the hepatitis A vaccine or a shot of immune globulin to prevent severe illness. There is no treatment for hepatitis A aside from treating symptoms through rest, fluids and adequate nutrition. McKinley Health Center does have Hepatitis A vaccine available for those at risk.

Monday, December 17, 2018 - 13:15