Vaccine can help curb Hoosier hepatitis A outbreak

Registered Nurse Jaema Kelly with IU Health Community Health prepares a vaccination for hepatitis A for a clinic offered Feb. 4, 2019, through the Monroe County Public Health Department. (photo provided by IU Health)

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - Central Indiana health officials are encouraging individuals to get the hepatitis A vaccine in response to an outbreak of the disease across the state.

"Hepatitis A is a highly contagious liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus," Holley Rose, Ripley County Health Department administrator, told our partners at the Batesville Herald-Tribune.

It "is passed in the stool, and people become infected by having contact with the stool of an infected person. For this reason, the virus is more easily spread in areas where there are poor sanitary conditions or where good personal hygiene is not common. Casual contact, as in the usual workplace or school setting, does not spread the virus."

Symptoms include:

  • diarrhea
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • tiredness
  • stomach pain
  • fever
  • dark urine
  • pale, clay-colored stool
  • joint pain
  • loss of appetite
  • yellowing of skin and eyeballs (jaundice)

"Anyone who has symptoms of hepatitis A should contact a health care provider immediately and should not prepare food for others," according to the Indiana State Department of Health website.

Get more on the outbreak, including risk factors and how to protect yourself, from the Herald-Bulletin.