Hepatitis Breakout Worsens Through Summer Months

Nationwide situation threatening the health of citizens

2019 has seen a surge in Hepatitis A cases that has worsened through the summer, peaking in July for the highest number of new cases reported thus far.

So far, 2019 has seen nine times more confirmed cases of Hepatitis A than expected for a given year. In the past week alone, officials in Missouri, Pennsylvania, and Virginia have issued statements with the intention of either urging residents to be vigilant, urging people to get tested, or warning of possible locations of exposure.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued warnings and are investigating the outbreaks, which have affected a total of 29 states thus far.

A communicable viral disease of the liver, Hepatitis A is transmitted from person to person. This typically happens via ingestion of objects such as food and drinks that have been contaminated by an infected individual.

Pennsylvania officials warn that the following groups of people are most at risk of contracting Hepatitis A:

  • Those who have encountered a person with Hepatitis A
  • People who inject drugs intravenously
  • Homeless people
  • Men engaging in sex with other men

However, transmission can occur in seemingly innocent situations, such as when 23 employees of a New Jersey golf club fell ill when one employee came to work sick earlier this spring.

Symptoms can last several weeks, including nausea and vomiting, and severe cases can lead to death. Seven people are confirmed to have died as a result of this latest outbreak.

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