Hepatitis A

At least 10 of the 13 reported cases had eaten raw oysters in the period of two to six weeks before getting sick. Most had eaten the raw oysters about a month before becoming ill. Officials are tracing back to where the oyster were harvested and sold.

State Health Officer Don Williamson says the infections happened before Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast and are unrelated to any contamination caused by the hurricane.

Preliminary information shows there are seven cases from the Tuscaloosa area, two from the Birmingham area, two from the Montgomery area, one in Washington County, and one from Dallas County.

Hepatitis a is a virus that affects the liver. Symptoms include yellowing of the skin, fever, lack of energy, and poor appetite. Most patients recover.