Health department says hepatitis A is on the rise in Virginia

Virginia News

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Virginia is one of several states experiencing a rise in hepatitis A cases. 

The Virginia Department of Health said Thursday the Commonwealth has had 45 reported cases of hepatitis A this year as of April 22. Virginia has had a 132 percent increase in cases of HAV between Jan. 1, 2019, and April 19, 2019, compared to the same time period in 2018. 

HAV is an inflammation of the liver caused by the hepatitis A virus. The most well-known symptom is jaundice, which is the yellowing of the skin and eyes. Other symptoms can include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, joint pain, dark urine and clay-colored stools. 

Symptoms develop 15-50 days after exposure to the virus. People who have symptoms should stay home from work. 

“The increase in HAV cases in Virginia indicates that the Commonwealth is now experiencing the effects of this nationwide outbreak,” said State Health Commissioner M. Norman Oliver, MD, MA. “We want everyone to know how the infection is spread, be able to recognize the symptoms, and take actions to prevent the spread of hepatitis A.”

The virus is spread through direct contact with another person who has the infection or by consuming food or drink that has been contaminated with the virus.

The best way to prevent HAV is by getting vaccinated. You can also help with prevention with frequent handwashing. 

To learn more about hepatitis A, click here

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