Hepatitis A

Vaccines WorkRecently, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services released a statement affirming an investigation into the incidence of a food handler in Poplar Bluff, Missouri potentially contaminating food at Huddle House with Hepatitis A. Southeast Missouri has seen a rise in the number of hepatitis cases in the region over the past few months, so it is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms and know when to contact your healthcare provider.

Hepatitis A is a viral infection of the liver that is highly contagious and can affect the ability of the liver to function correctly. Hepatitis A is spread primarily through food or water that is contaminated with infected feces but can also be spread by having unprotected sex with someone who has the virus and sharing used needles. Therefore, washing hands frequently, maintaining good hygiene, and using protection in intimate relationships are imperative in preventing the spread.

Most signs and symptoms don’t typically appear until the virus has been in the body’s system for at least a few weeks and not everyone displays them. However, if signs and symptoms appear, they may range from mild to severe and include fatigue, loss of appetite, intense itching, pain or discomfort in the upper right side of the abdomen, low grade fever, sudden nausea and vomiting, clay-colored bowel movements, dark urine, and yellowing of the skin and/or whites of the eyes.

Getting the Hepatitis A vaccine is a great way to help protect yourself from getting the virus. This vaccine is typically given in two shots, six months apart. You can get the hepatitis A vaccine at the Ste. Genevieve Health Department on Basler Drive, which is open from 8am-4pm.