County health officials report a spike in Hepatitis A cases
Press release from Gloucester County
The Gloucester County Department of Health said the county is experiencing an increase Hepatitis A cases.
On average, the department sees less than ten Hepatitis A cases a year, but eight cases have been reported in just the last nine weeks. The cases are unconnected, the department said, but residents are urged to receive Hepatitis A vaccines. Particularly high-risk groups that include: people who have close, personal contact with someone who has Hepatitis A, people who are homeless, people who use injected or non-injected street drugs and men who have sex with men.
There is a vaccination available for Hepatitis A. Those who are at increased risk should contact their physician’s office to be vaccinated, or, for those without health insurance, contact the Gloucester County Department of Health to schedule an appointment to receive the vaccine at no cost.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/hav/afaq.htm, says Hepatitis A usually spreads when a person unknowingly ingests the virus from objects, food or drinks contaminated by small, undetected amounts of stool from an infected person. Hepatitis A can also spread from close personal contact with an infected person such as through sex or caring for someone who is ill. Person to person transmission of Hepatitis A virus between persons who report drug use and/or homelessness could result from contaminated needles and other injection equipment or from generally poor sanitary conditions.
The following are symptoms of Hepatitis A: fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, diarrhea, clay-colored stools and jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes).
For more information call the Gloucester County Department of Health at (856) 218–4101 or visit their website www.gloucestercountynj.gov.