The hepatitis A outbreak in Oahu, Hawaii has grown by 22 cases in the past week, according to The Hawaii Department of Health (HDOH), bringing the total outbreak cases to 74.
Health officials say all cases have been in adults, 26 have required hospitalization. All of the cases are residents of Oahu with the exception of two individuals who now live on the islands of Hawaii and Maui, respectively, but were on Oahu during their exposure period.
HDOH staff are conducting interviews with the cases in an effort to identify the source of infection.
Identifying the source of infection continues to be a challenge because of the long incubation period of the disease and the difficulty patients have in accurately recalling the foods consumed and locations visited during the period when infection could have taken place.
Unvaccinated contacts of cases should talk to their healthcare providers about the possibility of receiving hepatitis A vaccine or immune globulin, which may provide some protection against the disease if administered within the first two weeks after exposure.
Hepatitis A is a contagious liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV). The disease can range from a mild illness lasting 1 or 2 weeks to a severe illness lasting for several months. HAV is found in the stool of people with hepatitis A infection and is usually spread by eating contaminated food or drinking water and can be spread through close personal/sexual contact. A person who has hepatitis A can easily pass the disease to others within the same household.
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