Three Hepatitis A cases confirmed in Spokane

Three Hepatitis A cases confirmed in Spokane
Spokane Regional Health District

On June 5th, the Spokane Regional Health District confirmed three cases of Hepatitis A in members of the local homeless community.

One individual has been hospitalized, the other two have recovered.

Hepatitis A virus causes inflammation of the liver and can cause illnesses ranging from mild infection with no symptoms, to more severe cases which can result in liver failure and death.

The virus usually spreads when a person ingests the virus from touching objects or eating food that has been contaminated with undetectable amounts of stool from an infected person.

Symptoms usually appear two to seven weeks after infection. They can include yellow skin or eyes, dark urine and/or pale stool, loss of appetite, fever, diarrhea, fatigue, vomiting, joint pain, and abdominal pain.

According to the Center for Disease Control, an increasing number of Hepatitis A outbreaks have been occurring across the country since 2016, especially among those living homeless and using drugs.

Spokane Regional Health District recommends vaccination to prevent hepatitis A. The vaccine is safe and nearly 100% effective with two doses, usually given six months apart.

SRHD is working with homeless service providers to make vaccines available and to educate high risk individuals. The groups they recommend the vaccine to include: Children at age one, travelers to otther countries where hepatitis A is common, people experiencing homelessness, men who have sex with men, people who use or inject drugs, people with chronic or long term liver disease, people with clotting factor disorders, people with direct contact to those with Hepatitis A, and anyone who wishes to obtain immunity.

SRHD provided these fact sheets for information about hepatitis A.

For more information, visit the SRHD’s hepatitis A page.

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