The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) continue to investigate multiple hepatitis A cases in Jackson and DeKalb counties. Health officials say the outbreak has potential to spread to other surrounding counties.
People at highest risk for hepatitis A include illegal drug users, homeless/transient people, close contacts with hepatitis A, and people who have anal/oral sex including men who have sex with men. Others can become infected with the hepatitis A virus by contact with contaminated food, drink and objects from an infected person. Hepatitis A can spread easily around unvaccinated people, if good handwashing practices are not followed. In addition, anyone who wants to be protected against hepatitis A should get vaccinated.
“As the outbreak continues to grow, we need to make sure everyone knows the importance of getting vaccinated and handwashing,” said Medical Officer Dr. Karen Landers.
After being exposed to someone sick with hepatitis A, symptoms may appear from 15 to 50 days later.
Symptoms may include:
- Low appetite
- Stomach pain
- Dark urine or jaundice
If you, your family, or friends are experiencing any of these symptoms, after contact with an infected person or with someone who participates in the behaviors listed above, they should contact their healthcare provider as soon as possible.
To reduce the spread of hepatitis A disease:
- Before, during and after preparing food
- After using the toilet
- After changing diapers or cleaning up a person who has used the toilet
- After touching garbage
- Before eating food
- Before and after caring for someone who is sick
-Do not share drug paraphernalia, cigarettes, food, drinks, eating utensils, towels or toothbrushes.
For more information, visit alabamapublichealth.gov/immunization/assets/hepatitisaflyer.pdfor contact the ADPH Immunization Division at (334) 206-5023 or toll free at 800-469-4599