The Taiwan CDC reported 30 indigenous cases of hepatitis A for the two month period of Oct. through Nov. 2014, in which more than 80 percent of the patients required hospitalization for their illness.
According to the epidemiological investigation, most patients consumed raw bivalves such as oyster and clams during the disease incubation period.
This has prompted the Taiwan CDC to remind the public to pay attention to personal dietary hygiene and consume only thoroughly cooked bivalves.
Bivalves such as oysters and clams concentrate the pathogens that are present in harvest waters.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease that results from infection with the Hepatitis A virus. It can range in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe illness lasting several months.
Hepatitis A is usually spread when a person ingests fecal matter, even in microscopic amounts, from contact with objects, food, or drinks contaminated by feces or stool from an infected person.
Not everyone has symptoms. If symptoms develop, they usually appear 2 to 6 weeks after becoming infectedand can include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine and jaundice.
There is no specific treatment once symptoms appear, but a vaccination can help lessen the effects of the disease if given within 14 days of exposure.
The best way to control the spread of hepatitis A and many other illnesses is through proper hand washing, especially after using the restroom, changing diapers, and before eating or preparing food. Hand washing should include 20 seconds of vigorous soaping of all parts of the hands, especially between fingers and under fingernails.