Hepatitis A virus outbreak hits Virginia, cases up 132%

Posted at 1:24 PM, Apr 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-26 12:24:00-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- The number of hepatitis A virus (HAV) cases reported in Virginia in 2019 is up 132% over 2018, according to the Virginia Department of Health. There have been 45 cases reported in Virginia as of April 22, 2019.

"The increase in HAV cases in Virginia indicates that the Commonwealth is now experiencing the effects of this nationwide outbreak," State Health Commissioner M. Norman Oliver, said. "We want everyone to know how the infection is spread, be able to recognize the symptoms, and take actions to prevent the spread of hepatitis A."

  • The virus can be spread through direct contact with another person who has the infection
  • The virus can be spread by consuming food or drink contaminated with the virus
  • HAV is an inflammation of the liver caused by the hepatitis A virus
  • The classic symptom of HAV is jaundice - a yellowing of the skin or the eyes
  • Other symptoms include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, joint pain, dark urine and clay-colored stools
  • Symptoms develop 15-50 days after exposure to the virus

"It is very important for people who have symptoms to stay home from work, especially if they work in food service, health care or child care," a Department of Health spokesperson said. "The best way to prevent HAV is by getting vaccinated. Hepatitis A vaccine is available at many doctor’s offices, pharmacies and local health departments across the state. Another important method of prevention is frequent handwashing with soap and warm water after, especially after using the bathroom, changing a diaper, or before preparing food."

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