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Since 2012, hepatitis A cases have been on the rise in the U.S. Between July 2016 to November 2017, the CDC reports 1200 cases have occurred nationally, including 826 hospitalizations and 37 deaths. Outbreaks have occurred in California, Utah, Kentucky, Michigan, Indiana, and West Virginia.
Since the beginning of the outbreak, public health response has included increased healthcare awareness efforts, public notification and education, and outreach with vaccination clinics for high-risk populations. No common sources of food, beverages, or drugs have been identified as a potential source of infection. Transmission appears to be through direct person-to-person spread. The groups most at risk in this outbreak setting include household members, caregivers, or have sexual contact with someone who is infected with hepatitis A, men who have sexual encounters with other men, people with a history of recreational injection and non-injection drug use, people who have recently traveled from countries where hepatitis A is common and homeless individuals who do not have easy access to handwashing facilities.
Mecklenburg County Hepatitis A Outbreak Cases as of August 9, 2018*
*In an effort to keep the public informed of the outbreak, this information will be updated bi-weekly.
Total number of cases since April 20, 2018 – 13
Total number of cases since Jan. 1, 2018 – 15
Hepatitis A is a highly contagious liver infection that can be easily spread from person to person through the fecal-oral route (putting something in your mouth that has been contaminated with the feces (poop) of a person with hepatitis A.) This happens most often by forgetting to wash your hands after using the bathroom or changing diapers, having sexual contact with infected partners and eating or drinking foods contaminated by hepatitis A. The illness can last for weeks to months and only acute cases are reportable in North Carolina. The most effective way to protect yourself and prevent the spread of hepatitis A is to get the hepatitis A vaccine.
Although not all people infected with hepatitis A experience illness, symptoms usually appear around four weeks after exposure and develop over several days. Symptoms usually last two months, but can last longer. Symptoms include:
The best way to protect yourself and prevent the spread of hepatitis. While the hepatitis A vaccine is now recommended as a part of the routine childhood vaccination schedule, most adults have not been vaccinated and may be susceptible to the hepatitis A virus. It is also recommended to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds under warm, soapy water after going to the bathroom and before preparing meals for yourself and others. Use your own towels, toothbrushes, and eating utensils. Do not have sex with someone who has hepatitis A or share food, drinks, or smokes with other people.
The best way to protect yourself and prevent the spread of hepatitis A is through vaccination with the hepatitis A vaccine. The hepatitis A vaccine is safe and effective and is given as 2 shots, 6 months apart. Both shots are needed for long-term protection.
The priority populations listed above can get the vaccine for FREE at the health department. To schedule an appointment or for more information please call
General Hepatitis A Outbreak Information
Poster - Wash Your Hands
Flyer - What You Should Know About Hepatitis A
Information for Priority Populations
Business Card Flyer - Protect Yourself and Prevent the Spread of Hepatitis A
Poster - You Might Be At Risk
Quarter Page Flyer - You Might Be At Risk
Poster - Are You at Risk?
Information for Food Service Employee
Poster - Important Information for Food Service Employees
Half Page Flyer - Important Information for Food Service Managers/Operators