Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Welcome to the Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department website. Our vision is to provide quality public health services to the communities in Calhoun, Pleasants, Ritchie, Roane, Wirt and Wood counties with dignity, respect and compassion.

Hepatitis A outbreaks on the rise in WV – 10/29/2018

With Hepatitis A outbreaks on the rise in West Virginia, the Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department (MOVHD) would like to remind you that Hepatitis A is a vaccine preventable disease.

Hepatitis A is a viral infection of the liver that can cause loss of appetite, nausea, tiredness, fever, stomach pain, brown colored urine, and light-colored stools. Yellowing of the skin or eyes may also appear.  People may have some or none of these symptoms.

The purpose of this information is preventative as well as informative; no cases resulting from exposure while visiting a restaurant have been reported.  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. The virus spreads when an infected person does not wash his/her hands adequately after using the toilet, changing diapers, or engages in behaviors that increase risk of infection.

Most cases reported throughout the state have been person-to-person contact occurring primarily among people who are transients, those who are homeless, persons who use injection and non-injection drugs, and their close direct contacts.

A person with Hepatitis A is considered contagious for two weeks before and one week after symptoms start. Hepatitis A can cause liver inflammation.  It could take up to 50 days after being exposed to the virus for someone to become ill, but most people experience symptoms within 28-30 days after being exposed.

Next to getting vaccinated, proper handwashing is the best means of preventing the spread of many diseases, particularly Hepatitis A.  This includes washing all parts of the hands with warm soapy water, rinsing well with hot water and drying thoroughly.  For more details regarding handwashing, please see the Center for Disease Control and Prevention handwashing site at https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/.  Hand sanitizer alone is not effective against Hepatitis A.

Persons suspecting that they have symptoms of Hepatitis A should contact their health care provider.  To schedule a Hepatitis A vaccine at MOVHD, call 304-485-7374 ext. 118 or check with your health care provider.

The Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department is working closely with the WV Bureau of Public Health to address cases, contacts and immunization in high risk populations. To find out more about Hepatitis A, visit http://www.hepawarewv.org.