By late spring of past year, there were hundreds of cases, a dozen deaths and a growing public outcry that something had to be done about the unsanitary living conditions among the region's homeless population. There have been 16 deaths including the two in Franklin County. "The vaccine is effective and has an excellent track record".
Proper hand washing is recommended to help stop the spread of the virus. Always wash your hands before touching or eating food, after using the toilet and after changing a diaper.
Symptoms of hepatitis A include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, abdominal discomfort, dark urine and yellowing of the skin and eyes. People may have some or none of these symptoms. Illness from hepatitis A is typically acute and self-limited; however, when this disease affects populations with already poor health (e.g., hepatitis B and C infections, chronic liver disease), infection can lead to serious outcomes, including death. Around two-thirds of the cases involve drug use and 20 percent have no risk factors noted, he said.
DPH identified the increasing number of cases as an outbreak in November 2017.
The Franklin County Health Department said the two had medical conditions that made the disease more severe.
Hepatitis A spreads when someone ingests the virus from objects, food or drinks contaminated by an infected person's stool. Another 1,209 people have been hospitalized with hepatitis A. "However, most adults have not yet been immunized since the vaccine was not given routinely as part of their childhood schedule of shots".