Douglas County Has First Confirmed Case of Hepatitis A in 2019

From the Douglas County Health Department

The Douglas County Health Department has received confirmation of the first confirmed case of Hepatitis A in the county. 

Douglas County Health Department Communicable Disease Coordinator, Tina Caudill, Public Health Nurse, initiated an investigation immediately to determine precautionary steps that might be taken to minimize the risk of spreading the disease. Through proactive measures taken by the county health department several agencies were notified and offered vaccine protection to persons that may be at risk of developing the infection. 

Howell County has reported 45 cases and Ozark County 4 cases in 2019. 

From the Missouri Department of Health’s website – Since September 2017, the Missouri Department of Health and Local Public Health Agencies (LPHAs) have received increased reports of Hepatitis A linked to an ongoing outbreak in Missouri.  As of Aug. 13, 2019, 406 cases of Hepatitis A virus infection have been linked to the outbreak. No common sources of food, beverages, or drugs have been identified as a potential source of the infection. Transmission appears to be through direct person-to-person spread. Based on current information, persons who use injection and non-injection illicit drugs are at increased risk for Hepatitis A during this outbreak. Several other states are also experiencing similar outbreaks of Hepatitis A. Public health officials in Missouri continue working to identify cases and their contacts, provide education, and to provide vaccination of close contacts to cases and others identified to be at increased risk for hepatitis A infection.

Hepatitis A is a highly contagious liver infection caused by the Hepatitis A virus. It can range from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe illness lasting several months. Although rare, Hepatitis A can cause death in some people. Hepatitis A usually spreads when a person unknowingly ingests the virus from objects, food, or drinks contaminated by small, undetected amounts of stool from an infected person.  If symptoms occur, they usually appear two to seven weeks after exposure. Symptoms usually develop over a period of several days, and may include the yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes, abdominal pain, nausea or diarrhea. The best way to prevent hepatitis A is to get the hepatitis A vaccine. In addition, it is important to protect yourself and others from hepatitis A by thoroughly washing hands after using the bathroom, changing diapers, and before preparing or eating food.

If you have any questions please contact the Douglas County Health Department at (417) 683-4174.  

Douglas County Health Department is an Equal Opportunity /Affirmative Action Employer. Services provided on a nondiscriminatory basis in cooperation with the Department of Health and Senior Services.