Hepatitis A Outbreak Spotlights Need for Vaccination

As the number of confirmed cases of the Hepatitis A virus (HAV) rises to 228 and continues to climb, the Hawaii State Health Department ordered the immediate closure of nearly a dozen locations of the restaurant chain Genki Sushi on the islands of Oahu and Kaua.

While the cause of this unprecedented outbreak has been linked to tainted scallops at the restaurant chain, the facts are that the Hepatitis A virus (HAV) is transmitted through ingestion of any contaminated food and water, inadequate sanitation and through direct contact with an infectious person who practices poor personal hygiene (dirty hands) and handles or prepares food.

Hepatitis A is a viral liver disease that can cause mild to severe illness with an incubation period of 14–28 days after exposure. Symptoms include fatigue, nausea, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, jaundice (yellow skin or eyes), dark urine, clay-colored bowel movements, and low-grade fever.

The condition eventually clears up on its own, however, it can take weeks or even months for people infected with the disease to recover from the illness and return to work, school, or daily life. Although rare, Hepatitis A can cause liver failure and death more commonly in persons 50 years of age or older and persons with other liver diseases, such as Hepatitis B or C.

Anyone who has not been vaccinated or previously infected can get infected with Hepatitis A virus. The most important thing to remember is that Hepatitis A is preventable with a vaccination.  You can receive this safe and effective Hepatitis A vaccination at The Women’s Center of Orlando. Call 407-857-2502 and make your appointment today.

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