According to WTSP, 10 News, the Hepatitis A outbreak isn’t slowing down; and Pasco, Pinellas, Hillsborough and Hernando County are leading in numbers in the State of Florida.
Hepatitis A cases more than doubled between 2016 and 2017, then nearly doubled again last year. Neighboring Pasco County has had 370 cases this year.
Hepatitis A is caused by contagious virus that infects the liver, and can lead to serious liver problems. There is a vaccine that prevents the virus.
The virus spreads through the feces (poop) of people who have the virus. If a person with the virus doesn’t wash his or her hands after going to the bathroom, feces can transfer to objects, food, drinks or drugs. When these things are shared, other people can unknowingly swallow the virus. If a person who has the virus comes in close contact with others—like during sex—the virus can also spread.
Symptoms of hepatitis A may include yellowing of the skin or eyes, fever, diarrhea, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, stomach pain, vomiting and dark urine or pale stool. There is no medication that can cure Hepatitis A, but people with symptoms should call a doctor immediately.
A person can have hepatitis A for up two weeks without feeling sick but during that time can spread the virus to others. Symptoms usually start two to six weeks after infection and last less than two months.
The Florida Department of Health offers support and guidance. Their #1 piece of advice? Wash your hands with soap and warm, running water for 20 seconds; alcohol-based hand sanitizers don’t kill Hepatitis A germs.
Frequently touched surfaces should be cleaned often. Use chlorine bleach to disinfect surfaces.
Yuk. Please wash your hands, Spring Hill!