Over the past few months, Kentucky and Michigan experienced an increase in the number of hepatitis A cases, a highly contagious viral infection of the liver. The disease has now made its way to Indiana and is starting to impact our communities. It is important that you are aware of the disease, its symptoms and how to protect yourself.
Typically, Indiana only sees less than 20 cases of hepatitis statewide each year, but since January of this year, there have already been 77 confirmed cases. Kentucky has also struggled with the disease, reporting more than 300 cases, with the majority of them occurring in Louisville. Since Louisville is a popular destination for those in our community, be sure to practice caution and proper hygiene when visiting. In fact, Indiana health officials are advising Hoosiers to get vaccinated for hepatitis A if their plans include visits to Kentucky or Michigan.
Being aware of the symptoms that can occur will help you better identify and treat this disease. Those affected by hepatitis A may experience a loss of appetite, nausea, fatigue, joint pain, fever and stomachache. Jaundice, the yellowing of the eyes and skin, could also appear after the onset of these symptoms.
To protect yourself from hepatitis A, practice cleanly habits like thoroughly washing your hands and get vaccinated. Hepatitis A is commonly spread through the feces of infected people and through injection drug use. It can also be spread through contaminated food. Make sure that you wash your hands with warm water and soap after going to the bathroom, after changing diapers and before preparing meals for yourself or others. Also be aware of any outbreaks at local food establishments.
You can find out more information about the hepatitis A outbreak by visiting the Indiana State Department of Health’s website at www.in.gov/isdh and searching “Indiana Hepatitis A Outbreak” in the ISDH search engine.
Summer is a time to get out, travel and spend time with friends and family. Knowing symptoms and practicing prevention techniques can keep you healthy while also reducing and controlling the number of hepatitis A cases. Remember to get vaccinated and thoroughly wash your hands before and after preparing food and after using the restroom. As always, if you have any concerns please contact me at email@example.com or 317-232-9769.
Rep. Steve Davisson represents Washington County, and portions
of Orange, Lawrence, Jackson, Clark and Harrison counties.
A high-resolution photo of Davisson can be downloaded by clicking here.