Clermont County is experiencing an increase in cases of hepatitis A. The Ohio Department of Health declared a statewide outbreak of the illness in June. To date, there have been 225 cases reported in Ohio.
Hepatitis A is a virus that affects the liver. It can be spread from person to person, or by eating or drinking food that is contaminated with the virus. Food can become contaminated with the virus when a person doesn’t wash their hands after using the bathroom and then prepares or touches food. Spread of the illness in the current outbreak is primarily occurring from person to person in high-risk groups.
People at higher risk for getting sick from Hepatitis A during this outbreak include:
- People who have direct contact with someone infected with the virus
- Men who have sex with men
- People who use street drugs, whether they are injected or not
- People who are incarcerated
- People experiencing homelessness
- People who have traveled to areas outside of the U.S. currently experiencing outbreaks
Symptoms of hepatitis A include fatigue, low appetite, stomach pain, nausea, clay-colored stools, and jaundice (yellowish color to the skin and eyes).
“We are working with at-risk populations to help prevent even more people from getting sick,” said Health Commissioner Julianne Nesbit. “Whether you are considered to be at high risk or not, anyone can get hepatitis A. So we encourage everyone to get vaccinated and wash your hands.”