Recently, Fayette County has had numerous cases of Hepatitis A, according to Fayette County Public Health. The health department has evaluated the situation and is supplying the following information and recommendations, said Leigh Cannon, the deputy health commissioner.
Hepatitis A is caused by a virus that is passed in the stool (bowel movement) of infected persons. Once infected, a person is capable of passing the virus from approximately two weeks before she/he becomes ill through 10 days after onset. Transmission requires close personal contact and the infection is most commonly spread among household members. The virus can also be transmitted through food prepared by an infected person who fails to wash his/her hands after using the bathroom.
Occasionally, concern is expressed over the possibility of transmission of the virus in a restroom used by an infected person. Please remember that infection results from swallowing the virus, and oral contact with stool in a restroom does not commonly occur.
It is recommended that individuals who have close personal contact with an infected person, such as household members, receive an injection of hepatitis A vaccine or immune globulin (gamma globulin) which might prevent hepatitis A. The local health department can best determine who needs preventive hepatitis A vaccine or immune globulin.
Possible symptoms of hepatitis A include fatigue, loss of appetite, diarrhea, dark urine, light-colored stools and yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes. Many people infected with the virus do not develop all of the above symptoms, especially preschool children who can have few or no symptoms at all. If your child or any member of your family should develop symptoms of hepatitis A, contact your family physician.
Fayette County Public Health will answer any questions you may have. You can call 740-335-5910 during the business hours Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.