BEND, mineral – Deschutes County Public Health officials confirmed three recent and closely related cases of hepatitis A, the first cases of viral disease reported in the county in over a year, on Wednesday.
Program director Heather Kaisner said two of the cases were reported in April and a third last week, all of which related to adults experiencing "housing instability". None involved exposures in restaurants or schools, he added.
Kaisner said there were no cases reported by Deschutes County last year of the disease, which spread through contact with others in precarious hygiene conditions, and only five cases in the previous four years.
He noted that the hepatitis A vaccine, introduced more than 20 years ago, resulted in a decline in epidemics, largely after the Oregon and other states requested immunization for students of public schools.
Kaisner stated that he had notified all the most popular contacts during the investigation.
The disease is usually spread by someone who ingests something contaminated by the faeces of an infected person. Symptoms include fever, fatigue, nausea, abdominal pain, dark urine, joint pain and jaundice. Most people recover completely under treatment, although there may be problems, especially for those already in poor health. More information on:
Although officials believe that the recent case series may have run their course, Kaisner said the county has acquired more vaccines against hepatitis A from the state and will offer it in places that help the homeless.
Further information: https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/hav/pdfs/hepageneralfactsheet.pdf
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