Hepatitis A infection is an inflammation of the liver that can lead to damages that may interfere with the organ’s function. But now an outbreak of the infection was reported in Montgomery County that is connected to an Italian restaurant. State and local health officials are currently investigating the outbreak that infected eight people.
Hepatitis A Outbreak in Pennsylvania
The Pennsylvania Department of Health stated in a public health advisory that among the eight infected patients of hepatitis A in Montgomery County, they were only able to retrieve information on the seven people. Six of the patients were now admitted to the hospital, while one of them died due to the infection.
In the advisory, officials said that hepatitis A is a highly contagious disease although it is preventable using vaccines that protect the liver from infection caused by the virus. Fox 29 reported that symptoms of hepatitis A infection could range from a mild infection that may last for a few weeks to a severe infection that lasts for several months.
Hepatitis A virus (HAV) usually spreads via ingestion of objects, food, and drinks contaminated by the virus coming from an infected person’s stool. More so, it can spread through close personal contact with an infected individual, like caring for someone with the virus or having sex with them.
How to Protect Yourself From Hepatitis A?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the best way to protect oneself from the hepatitis A virus is through vaccination that needs more than one shot. People eligible to get the vaccine are children aged 12-23 months, children aged two to 18 years old, people with increased risk of HAV, people with a high risk of severe hepatitis A, pregnant women, and anyone who wishes to get vaccinated.
Experts also pointed out that proper hygiene, such as thoroughly washing hands after bathroom use, changing diapers, and before preparing the food is important to prevent the spread of HAV.