Louisiana reports 9 new cases of hepatitis A, bringing total number to 541

Louisiana reports 9 new cases of hepatitis A, bringing total number to 541
(Source: WWNY)

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The Louisiana Department of Health reports 9 new cases of Hepatitis A across the state in the past 7 days, bringing the total number of cases up to 541 as of Sept. 20.

LDH notes that 5 of the current cases are not linked to the current outbreak.

The largest concentration of reported cases of the vaccine-preventable illness remains in Livingston Parish, with between 141-240 cases.

East Baton Rouge and Ouachita parishes reported the second-highest concentration of cases, between 61-121.

LDH numbers of Hep. A cases as of Sept. 20, 2019.
LDH numbers of Hep. A cases as of Sept. 20, 2019. (Source: LDH)

The hepatitis A outbreak in Louisiana has reached the highest number of cases in 20 years. In an average year, Louisiana has 10 to 15 cases of hepatitis A.

TIMELINE:

  • On Sept. 13, 2019, Louisiana reported 537 cases of HAV infection, including five not linked to the current outbreak.
  • On Sept. 6, 2019, Louisiana reported 523 cases of HAV infection, including five not linked to the current outbreak.
  • On Aug. 30, 2019, Louisiana reported 509 cases of HAV infection, including five not linked to the current outbreak.
  • On Aug. 23, 2019, Louisiana reported 484 cases of HAV infection, including five not linked to the current outbreak.
  • On Aug. 16, 2019, Louisiana reported 468 cases of HAV infection, including five not linked to the current outbreak.
  • On Aug. 9, 2019, Louisiana reported 445 cases of HAV infection, including five not linked to the current outbreak.
  • On Aug. 2, 2019, Louisiana reported 411 cases of HAV infection, including five not linked to the current outbreak.
  • On July 26, 2019, Louisiana reported 406 cases of HAV infection, including five not linked to the current outbreak.
  • On July 18, 2019, Louisiana reported 380 cases of HAV infection, including five not linked to the current outbreak.
  • On July 11, 2019, Louisiana reported 356 cases of HAV infection, including four not linked to the current outbreak.
  • On July 3, 2019, Louisiana reported 338 cases of HAV infection, including three not linked to the current outbreak.
  • On Friday, June 21, LDH reported 302 cases of Hepatitis A since the start of 2019. A week prior, the number of cases was at 281.
  • On June 7, 2019, Louisiana reported 246 cases of HAV infection, including three not linked to the current outbreak.
  • On May 31, 2019, Louisiana reported 217 cases of HAV infection, including three not linked to the current outbreak.
  • On May 17, 2019, Louisiana reported 176 cases of HAV infection, including three not linked to the current outbreak.
  • On May 3, 2019, Louisiana reported 148 cases of HAV infection, including three not linked to the current outbreak.
  • On April 26, 2019, Louisiana reported 139 cases of HAV infection, including three not linked to the current outbreak. This report also noted that one death has been associated with the outbreak.
  • On April 12, 2019, Louisiana reported 112 cases of HAV infection, including three not linked to the current outbreak.
  • On March 29, 2019, Louisiana reported 100 cases of HAV infection, including three not linked to the current outbreak.
  • On Feb. 22, 2019, Louisiana reported 72 cases of HAV infection, including three not linked to the current outbreak.
  • On Feb. 1, 2019, Louisiana reported 58 cases of HAV infection, including three not linked to the current outbreak.
  • On January 12, 2019, Louisiana reported 49 cases of HAV infection, including three not linked to the current outbreak.
  • On Dec. 28, 2018, Louisiana reported 34 cases of HAV infection, including three not linked to the current outbreak.
  • On Dec. 21, 2018, Louisiana reported 29 cases of HAV infection, including three not linked to the current outbreak.
  • On Dec. 14, 2018, Louisiana reported 24 cases of HAV infection, including three not linked to the current outbreak. That’s nearly three times the number of cases LDH saw in 2017.

WHAT IS HEPATITIS A?

Hepatitis A is a highly contagious liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus. It is a vaccine-preventable illness that is easily spread through close contact, as well as from sharing injection and non-injection drugs.

Hepatitis A usually spreads when a person unknowingly ingests the virus from objects, food or drinks contaminated by small, undetected amounts of stool (feces) from an infected person. Hepatitis A can also spread from close personal contact with an infected person such as through sex or caring for someone who is ill.

An infected person can transmit the virus to others up to two weeks before symptoms appear, and even those who do not experience symptoms can transmit the virus to others.

HEPATITIS A PREVENTION

The best way to prevent hepatitis A is through vaccination with the hepatitis A vaccine (see below for Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommendations). Unvaccinated people who have been exposed recently (within two weeks) to the hepatitis A virus should get the hepatitis A vaccine or a shot of immune globulin to prevent severe illness.

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.

Where can I get vaccinated? Click here for locations in Louisiana.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF HEPATITIS A?

Symptoms include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, clay-colored bowel movements, joint pain and jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes).

Most children younger than age 6 do not have symptoms when they have hepatitis A. If symptoms occur, they usually appear four weeks after exposure, but can occur as early as two weeks and as late as seven weeks after exposure.

Symptoms usually develop over a period of several days and last less than two months, although a small percentage of people (10-15 percent) can have symptoms for as long as six months.

Sometimes hepatitis A can cause liver failure and death, although this is rare and occurs more commonly in people older than 50 and people with other liver diseases.

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