Health Alert: Hepatitis A in Hawaii

Symptoms and tips for reducing the spread of germs

Health Alert: Hepatitis A in Hawaii

Health officials in Oahu, Hawaii are currently investigating a recent outbreak of Hepatitis A. So far there have been 74 confirmed cases of the disease, all in adults, with 26 requiring hospitalization.

Hepatitis A is a contagious liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV). HAV is found in the stool of infected people and is usually spread via eating contaminated food or water and also through person-to-person contact. Symptoms usually occur abruptly and can include:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach pain
  • Dark urine
  • Light-colored stool
  • Joint pain
  • Jaundice (yellow skin & eyes)

After it was discovered that two eating establishments each had an employee diagnosed with the disease, it has been advised that anyone who consumed food and/or drinks at these restaurants to consult with their doctor. The Hawaii State Department recommends vaccinations for unvaccinated people at high risk of infection, such as contacts of a confirmed case or those who plan on traveling to the area.

Outbreaks like this remind us how quickly a virus can spread and the importance of following good hygienic practice to help protect against infection. Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after using the bathroom, changing a diaper, or before preparing and handling food. Other prevention methods include cooking food thoroughly and properly disinfecting surfaces.

For updates on the hepatitis A outbreak in Hawaii:
http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/hepatitis-a-outbreak-2016/

For more information about hepatitis A:
http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/hav/havfaq.htm

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