Over 300 cases of Hepatitis A confirmed in Louisiana, LDH says

Hepatitis A infections have soared nearly 300 percent in the United States.
Hepatitis A infections have soared nearly 300 percent in the United States.
Updated: Jun. 21, 2019 at 1:06 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Over 300 cases of Hepatitis A have been confirmed in the state of Louisiana since January, according to the latest count from the state’s department of health.

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.

In a non-outbreak year, LDH reports an average of 5 to 15 cases of the virus. There have been 21 new cases of Hepatitis A in the last seven days.

LDH says 59% of those affected have been hospitalized.

RELATED: Dept. of Health monitoring hep A outbreak in Livingston Parish

Hepatitis A is preventable with a vaccine, which provides 95% coverage for at least ten years. Most children born after 2006 were vaccinated soon after birth.

Drug users, prisoners, homeless people, and men who have sex with other men are especially susceptible. LDH says it’s “aggressively targeting” at-risk populations by coordinating vaccination dates with homeless shelters and rehab facilities.

The virus is primarily transmitted through close contact with others. It lives in fecal matter that can be accidentally ingested through contact with the face.

LDH has not identified any restaurants or commercial food sources that have a hepatitis A problem, but disease investigators are coordinating with each patient to cross-reference data.

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