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Indiana sees 4 times normal Hep A cases in 2018

By Matt McKinney

    HENDRICKS COUNTY, Ind. (WRTV) -- There have been nearly 80 hepatitis A cases in Indiana in 2018, about four times the normal amount recorded in one year.

The outbreak of hepatitis A has concerned public health officials, said Teresa Krupka, a public health nurse for the Hendricks County Health Department.

Hepatitis A is a viral infection of the liver. It is most commonly spread through contact with the feces of an infected person. Transmission is presumed to occur person-to-person and through injection drug use, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

“People who are most at risk for infection include injection and any other drug users, men who have sex with men, citizens who are currently homeless, and those who were recently incarcerated,” Krupka said. “However, anyone could be infected with hepatitis A by eating contaminated food or even contact with inanimate objects with small amounts of fecal residue, like a child’s toy.”

"The hepatitis A vaccine is a 2-dose series of shots, given six months apart that provides life-long immunity to the virus," said Tammy Brinkman, Director of Public Health Nursing for the HCHD. "Anyone who handles food in schools, hospitals, or other places that feed large groups of people are also highly encouraged to get vaccinated."

Common symptoms of hepatitis A are diarrhea, yellowing of skin and eyes (jaundice), nausea, vomiting, fatigue, stomach pain, fever, and dark colored urine, according to the Hendricks County Health Department.

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