(Photo courtesy of Florida Health Department)
Daytona Beach, FL – Cases of Hepatitis A are increasing in the State of Florida and in Volusia County. Holly Smith, Volusia County Department of Health said that there have been more new cases in the first four months of 2019 than there were in the entire year of 2018.
Smith said Hepatitis A can cause liver damage and is transmitted by the oral-fecal route. She said one of the most important things you can do is always, always wash your hands. There’s also a vaccination that will make you immune to Hepatitis A. Smith said the vaccination is a series of two shots. It’s offered by the Department of Health or you can ask your primary physician about it.
There are three groups that are more prone to Hepatitis A, according to Smith. They are people who are homeless or have recently been homeless. They are people who use street drugs and they are people who are incarcerated or have just gotten out. Smith said people that help the homeless or addicts or those recently out of jail are more apt to get the disease.
Smith said the symptoms of Hepatitis A are similar to the flu but worse. They can include: fever, jaundice (yellow skin and eyes), tiredness, loss of appetite, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, diarrhea, and gray clay-colored stool. If you have symptoms of hepatitis A, you should visit your health care provider for evaluation. People that are exposed to hepatitis A may be given vaccine or immune globulin within 14 days of exposure to prevent infection.
For more information on the Florida Hepatitis A outbreak, visit the website.