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Indiana State Department of Health Warns Of Hepatitis A Outbreak

11 confirmed in nearby Clark and Floyd Counties

(Indianapolis, Ind.) – A large outbreak of hepatitis A in Kentucky has spread into southern Indiana, according to the Indiana State Department of Health.

The department announced Monday that 17 cases of hepatitis A have been confirmed statewide in the past month, including 11 in Clark (Henryville Schools) and Floyd counties.

There have been 40 cases in the state since January 1. Typically, fewer than 20 cases of the liver infection are confirmed each year in Indiana.

“Hepatitis A is a highly contagious virus, and seeing this many cases in such a short timeframe is concerning,” said State Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box. “We are working closely with our local partners to identify individuals who may have been exposed and to halt the transmission of disease.”

Hepatitis A is transmitted by consuming contaminated food, water, or other objects with trace amounts of fecal material. It can also be contracted through use of shared needles.

According to the ISDH, since 2014, Indiana has required that children be vaccinated for hepatitis A prior to the start of the school year. Therefore, children in kindergarten through grade 3 have likely been immunized against the disease. Older children and adults may not have been immunized and are urged to check their vaccination status.

Symptoms vary greatly, from severe to none at all, and may include loss of appetite, nausea, fatigue, fever, stomach ache, dark (cola) colored urine and light colored stools. Jaundice (yellowing of the eyes or skin) may appear a few days after the onset of these symptoms. Individuals can become ill 15 to 50 days after being exposed to the virus. Most people who get hepatitis A feel sick for several weeks, but they usually recover completely and do not have lasting liver damage. However, hospitalization and, in rare cases, death can occur.

More information about the disease can be found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/hav/afaq.htm.

The department urges anyone exhibiting symptoms of hepatitis A to contact a healthcare provider immediately.

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