Toledo-Lucas County Health reports increase in hepatitis A cases

TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - The Toledo-Lucas County Health Department says it has seen an increase of hepatitis A cases within the past three months.

According to a news release, Lucas County has seven confirmed cases of hepatitis A since August of 2017. The department says the increase in cases is unusual for this length of time, but the overall number of hepatitis A cases for the county continues to slowly climb. The department confirms several of these cases are linked to the Michigan outbreak.

Earlier this year, The Monroe County Health Department said anyone who ate at Olga's Kitchen at 2072 N. Telegraph Road between Saturday, February 24 and Wednesday, March 14 may have been exposed to the virus.

"While Hepatitis A is a can be very serious, we are fortunate to have an effective vaccine available" said Dr. Carl Schmidt, medical director of the health department. "We encourage anyone concerned about potential exposure to speak with their health care provider or MCHD as soon as possible."

Late last year, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Service activated an emergency response plan in response to a hepatitis A outbreak.

That outbreak had claimed 18 as of October 2017 in the southeast part of the state, health officials say. Monroe County is in the affected area.

Since August of 2016, there had been 457 confirmed cases of hepatitis A associated with the outbreak in the City of Detroit, Huron, Ingham, Lapeer, Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, Sanilac, St. Clair, Washtenaw, and Wayne Counties. That data was released in October of 2017.

Individuals with hepatitis A are infectious for two weeks prior to symptom onset. Symptoms of hepatitis A include jaundice (yellowing of the skin), fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, and light-colored stools. Symptoms usually appear over a number of days and last less than 2 months; however, some people can be ill for as long as 6 months. Hepatitis A can sometimes cause liver failure and death.

If you have been exposed to someone with hepatitis A, please contact your primary care physician or a medical professional.

Risk factors for a hepatitis A infection include living with someone who has hepatitis A, having sexual contact with someone who has hepatitis A, or sharing injection or non-injection illegal drugs with someone who has hepatitis A. The hepatitis A virus can also be transmitted through contaminated food or water.

For additional information on hepatitis A, please call 419.213.4216 or visit lucascountyhealth.com