The Taney County Health Department said Friday that it has identified three cases of Hepatitis A.
The health department specified that the cases were not related to food establishments or restaurants.
According to the TCHD, Hepatitis A is a viral infection that affects the liver and can cause fatigue, fever, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dark urine, light stools, and yellowing of the skin and eyes. Hepatitis A is spread when someone ingests the virus, by eating contaminated food or drink, or through person-to-person contact.
A Hepatitis A outbreak has been occurring since March of 2017. According to the health department, during this outbreak, the virus has been spread more commonly through person–to-person contact. If you have symptoms of Hepatitis A, you should seek immediate medical attention.
Those at highest risk for acquiring Hepatitis A include:
–People who use drugs
–People experiencing unstable housing or homelessness
–Men who have sex with men
–People who are currently or were recently incarcerated
–People with chronic liver disease, including Cirrhosis, Hepatitis B, or Hepatitis C
–People with close contact to any of the populations above
The most effective way to avoid getting Hepatitis A is to practice good hand hygiene and get vaccinated. Remember to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after using the bathroom, changing diapers, and preparing or eating food.
According to the health department, the Hepatitis A vaccine is a safe and effective series of two shots given six months apart. Getting both shots is the best way to protect against getting Hepatitis A.
“Statewide, many of the Hepatitis A outbreak cases involve shared cigarettes, sexual contact, or illicit drug use,” said Tiffany Bullock, Communicable Disease Coordinator for the Taney County Health Department. “We want people to know that if they are in one of the higher risk groups, they should monitor for symptoms of Hepatitis A. We encourage all community members to seek immediate medical attention if symptoms develop.”
For information, call the Taney County Health Department Branson Office at 417-334-4544 or visit taneycohealth.org.