There has been a sharp increase in the number of hepatitis A cases in New Hampshire, which leads the health authorities to warn Tuesday that the state is in the early stages of an outbreak.
In the last three months, 13 people have been diagnosed with hepatitis A infections, including seven in January alone. Officials said there are typically six to seven people diagnosed each year in the state.
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Diagnostics arrived in southern New Hampshire, including five in Hillsborough County, three each in Rockingham and Strafford counties and one each in Cheshire and Merrimack counties.
Health officials said people at higher risk of getting hepatitis A and anyone seeking to protect themselves from infection are advised to seek the vaccine, which is safe and effective.
>> Information on hepatitis A from NH DHHS
"There are major outbreaks of hepatitis A that occur in several other states across the country," said New Hampshire State epidemiologist Dr. Benjamin Chan in a press release. "Although these outbreaks have often started with people experiencing homelessness and those with substance abuse, it is once in our society that it can spread very easily even to others without specific risk factors. Fortunately, hepatitis A is a vaccine prevention disease. We all encourage who want to protect themselves from hepatitis A to talk to their healthcare provider about obtaining the highly effective hepatitis A vaccine. "
Hepatitis A, which is contagious, is transmitted when a person ingests the virus from objects, food or beverages contaminated by small, undiscovered amounts of faeces from an infected person. Officials said the virus can survive for months on surfaces.
The infection causes inflammation of the liver, and serious infections can result in liver failure and even death, officials said.
– Loss of appetite
– Abdominal pain
– Dark urine
– Clay color
] – Bowel Movement
– Common Pain
Officials said the symptoms may last weeks to months, and there is no specific treatment for hepatitis A. Officials stressed that hepatitis A can be prevented and vaccination is safe and efficient.
For more information, including symptoms and a list of people at the highest risk of having hepatitis A used, visit https: //www.dhhs.nh gov / dphs / CDCS / liver inflammation type a / .