Hepatitis-A cases increase in Cleveland

(Cleveland) - Thirteen new cases of hepatitis A have been reported in Cleveland from January 2018 to November 2018, according to data from the Cleveland Department of Public Health. 

This represents an increase of 117 percent over the same period last year. Officials report these new cases have occurred during an ongoing outbreak of hepatitis A in Ohio.

The hepatitis A virus is a contagious liver disease most commonly spread by the ingestion of food or water contaminated by feces (poop) or by oral contact with contaminated objects. 

Most infections result from contact with an infected household member or a sexual partner. 

Hepatitis A cannot be spread through coughing or sneezing.

The Hepatitis A infection can range from mild to serious, lasting a few weeks to several months. Anyone who is infected may spread the virus to others starting 1-2 weeks prior to symptoms appearing. 

Symptoms include fatigue, abdominal pain, nausea/vomiting, fever, yellow skin (jaundice), dark urine, pale stool and joint pain. 

In response, CDPH will offer the hepatitis A vaccine at its health centers. The vaccine is available free of charge. 

Vaccination is strongly encouraged for at-risk individuals. Anyone concerned about potential exposure should speak with their health care provider, pharmacist or the health department as soon as possible. 

Reproductive health patients can get the vaccination during normal clinic hours.

(Photos by Ken Robinson/WTAM)

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