Health department offering Hepatitis A vaccine

BUCKHANNON — Since March 2018, the West Virginia Bureau for Public Health has reported an increase in the number of confirmed cases of acute Hepatitis A virus.

This increase in cases has primarily been among injection and non-injection drug users, homeless or mobile individuals, and those who have been recently incarcerated. Viral sequencing has linked cases to Kentucky and California.

So far in 2018, there has been only one case of Hepatitis A discovered in Upshur County, Sue McKisic, nurse director of the Upshur-Buckhannon Health Department, said Tuesday.

Hepatitis A is a vaccine-preventable, communicable disease of the liver caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV). It is usually transmitted person-to-person through the fecal-oral route or consumption of contaminated food or water.

Most adults with hepatitis A have symptoms, including fatigue, low appetite, stomach pain, nausea and jaundice that usually resolve within two months of infection; most children less than 6 years of age do not have symptoms or have an unrecognized infection.

Antibodies produced in response to hepatitis A infection last for life and protect against reinfection. In addition, a person can transmit the virus to others up to two weeks before symptoms appear.

The best way to prevent hepatitis A is through vaccination with the hepatitis A vaccine. To get the full benefit of the hepatitis A vaccine, more than one shot is needed. The number and timing of these shots depends on the type of vaccine you are given. Practicing good hand hygiene — including thoroughly washing hands after using the bathroom, changing diapers, and before preparing or eating food — plays an important role in preventing the spread of hepatitis A.

Who should get vaccinated against hepatitis A?

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends hepatitis A vaccination for the following people:
-All children at age 1 year
-Travelers to countries where hepatitis A is common
-Family and caregivers of adoptees from countries where hepatitis A is common
-Men who have sexual encounters with other men
-Users of recreational drugs, whether injected or not
-People with chronic or long-term liver disease. including hepatitis B or hepatitis C
-People with clotting-factor disorders
-People with direct contact with others who have hepatitis A
-Any person wishing to obtain immunity (protection)

The Upshur-Buckhannon Health would like to encourage citizens to protect themselves and their families from Hepatitis A. Contact your health provider or the Upshur-Buckhannon Health Department at 304-472-2810, to get vaccinated or for more information.

Additional information regarding nursing services

The Upshur-Buckhannon Health Department will be open tonight, Wednesday evening, Nov. 14, until 7:30 p.m. for nursing services only (immunizations and pregnancy tests). We cannot do any testing for sexually transmitted diseases on Wednesday evenings.
We will be open late on Wednesdays, except for holidays or dates of early closure.
We will not be open late on Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2018, due to the Thanksgiving holiday.
This will be ongoing, as the need continues, if it is not feasible, we will give ample notice.

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