Health officials say they’re handling hepatitis A outbreak in NE Alabama

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Jackson County, Ala. (WAFF) -- Alabama Department of Public Health authorities say they are finally getting a handle on an outbreak of hepatitis A in Jackson County.

Image: MGN

Hepatitis A is also on the rise across the country.

Right now, the Alabama Department of Public Health reports 26 cases of hepatitis A in Jackson County, 22 in DeKalb County and two in Marshall County.

“I think if you compare what’s happening in Alabama to what’s happening nationwide, and you know hepatitis A has increased nationwide, I think what we’re seeing in Alabama is that we really got out early on this," said Karen Landers of the Alabama Department of Public Health.

Local doctor Andrew Hodges says prevention of the hepatitis A virus is paramount, especially if you’re in the high-risk group.

“Anyone in contact with a potential infected person, men who have sex with men in any form or fashion, any illicit drug users, whether that is injection or noninjection, patients with chronic liver disease, patients with blood clot disorders,” said Hodges.

If you fall under any of those mentioned, there are some symptoms you need to look out for.

“Your first symptoms are going to be an abrupt onset of nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, fever, severe fatigue, and abdominal pain,” said Hodges.

More severe symptoms include yellowing of the skin and liver issues.

Hepatitis A is preventable, and several different pharmacies and doctors around Sand Mountain and the Tennessee Valley are offering free hepatitis A vaccinations.

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