Officials from the Cuyahoga County Board of Health have confirmed more than a dozen hepatitis A cases so far this year within the county. The 13 confirmed cases are more than three times the amount that is normally seen in the county, according to health officials.
Officials confirmed four cases in September as having been part of a multi-state outbreak from Michigan, Indiana, West Virginia and Kentucky.
The Cuyahoga County Board of Health said it is waiting for results from four other cases that were confirmed in October. Officials said they believe the October cases will likely to be linked to the same outbreak.
Officials released the following information about hepatitis A:
According to the Ohio Department of Health, hepatitis A is a vaccine-preventable liver disease that usually spreads when a person ingests fecal matter - even in microscopic amounts - from contact with objects, food or drinks contaminated by the stool of an infected person. Hepatitis A can also be spread from close personal contact with an infected person, such as through sex.
Those who are at increased risk during this outbreak include:
- People who have direct contact with individuals infected with the virus
- Men who have sex with men
- Users of street drugs, whether they are injected or not
- Those who are incarcerated
- People experiencing homelessness
- Those traveling to other areas of the U.S. currently experiencing outbreaks
- Those traveling to or working in countries that have high or intermediate endemicity of hepatitis
- Those with an occupational risk for infection
- Household members and other close personal contacts or adopted children newly arriving from countries with high or intermediate Hepatitis A endemicity
- Persons who have chronic liver disease
- Persons who are at increased risk for complications from Hepatitis A, including people with chronic liver diseases, such as hepatitis B or hepatitis C
- Persons who have clotting-factor disorders
The Cuyahoga County Board of Health shared the following information from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention encouraging vaccinations for the following people:
- All children at age 1 year
- Homeless individuals in areas where hepatitis A outbreaks are occurring
- Persons who report drug use or other risk factors for hepatitis A