Missouri is seeing an outbreak of hepatitis A in 35 counties with 414 cases in total since September 2017.
Health officials are urging those at risk to get vaccinated.
Hepatitis A is a contagious disease of the liver that usually spreads when a person ingests the virus from objects, food or drinks that are contaminated with undetected amounts of stool from an infected person.
Symptoms of hepatitis A include:
–Loss of appetite
–Jaundice, a yellowing of the skin and eyes
According to Lisa Marshall, Taney County Health Department Director & PIO, there have been no cases of hepatitis A in Taney County to date. The county is working with state organizations and serving those at risk for the outbreak.
The disease is mostly concentrated in southeast Missouri, but there have been nine reported cases in Greene county, two cases in Dallas county, one case in Christian county, four cases in Ozark county, one case in Douglas county and 45 cases in Howell county.
According to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, those considered at risk include:
–People with direct contact with someone who has hepatitis A
–People who travel to countries where hepatitis A is common
–People who use injection and non-injection drugs
–Men who have sexual contact with men
–Household members or caregivers of a recent adoptee from countries where hepatitis A is common
–People with clotting factor disorders, such as hemophilia
–People working with nonhuman primates
The best way to prevent hepatitis A is through vaccination and by thoroughly washing your hands regularly, especially after using the bathroom, changing diapers and before preparing or eating food.
If you think you have been exposed to hepatitis A, call your health professional or your local or state health department.