Harrisburg, PA –Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine today alerted Pennsylvanians of a significant increase in the number of Hepatitis A cases being reported across the state, as other outbreaks are occurring across the country.
“The increase in cases highlights the importance of having a primary care physician who you can speak to if you have concerns over your health,” Dr. Levine said. “Hepatitis A is a highly contagious infection that can be very serious. A conversation with your physician will help determine if you should receive a Hepatitis A vaccine.”
There have been approximately 40-60 cases of Hepatitis A reported in Pennsylvania per year over the last several years. This year, 81 cases have been reported to date. There is increased concern for the disease spreading to other people across the state, particularly within the homeless, men who have sex with men and people who use injection and non-injection drugs.
At the same time, several other states have been experiencing large, ongoing Hepatitis A outbreaks, including neighboring states such as Ohio and West Virginia.
Hepatitis A is a highly contagious liver infection that ranges in severity from a mild infection lasting a few weeks to a severe disease that last for months. Hepatitis A typically spreads when the virus is ingested from objects, food or drinks contaminated by small, undetectable amounts of stool from an infected person. Hepatitis A can also spread from close personal contact with an infected person, such as through sex or caring for someone who is ill.
For more information on Hepatitis A visit the Department of Health website at www.health.pa.gov or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
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