The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare reported today that they are investigating an outbreak of hepatitis A in southern Idaho.
Since the beginning of the year, 12 cases have been reported. This compares with eight cases reported in all of 2018.
Epidemiologists are working to determine possible links between the cases and are encouraging people in high-risk populations to get vaccinated.
“We’re monitoring the situation closely,” said epidemiologist Randi Pedersen. “The best protection is to be vaccinated, but everyone can reduce their risk by practicing good hand hygiene. This means thoroughly washing your hands after using the bathroom, changing diapers, and before preparing or eating food.”
“Most Idahoans reported with hepatitis A this year have been so severely ill, they were hospitalized,” Pedersen said.
Hepatitis A can be prevented by being vaccinated, and also by washing hands with soap and water after using the bathroom and before eating or preparing food.
Hepatitis A vaccination is recommended for people who might be at increased risk of being exposed to the virus, including: men who have sex with men, people who use drugs (injection or non-injection), people experiencing unstable housing or homelessness and people with chronic liver disease, including cirrhosis, hepatitis B, or hepatitis C.
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