Most Hepatitis A victims in state outbreak are in NW Georgia
The Hepatitis A toll in Georgia now exceeds 300 cases, including one death, according to state public health officials.
Of the 312 Georgia residents diagnosed with Hepatitis A since June 2018, two-thirds were hospitalized. Almost half the cases are linked to illicit drug use, the state’s Department of Public Health said Tuesday.
The highly contagious liver infection has hit the Northwest Georgia area pretty hard. While the cases are reported as being reported in the Rome district, which covers the 10 county area in Northwest Georgia, the cases have been primarily spread through the northernmost area of the district.
Georgia also has seen a high number of E. coli infections. These cases have now reached 49, up from a total of 27 a month ago. The E. coli problem has been linked to contaminated ground beef, including from one source in Georgia.
State officials say E. coli is leveling off here, though they expect the number of confirmed cases to continue to rise as a result of lag time in reporting and testing.
Northwest Georgia Health Departments in Bartow, Catoosa, Chattooga, Dade, Floyd, Gordon and Walker counties will provide free Hepatitis A vaccine to individuals at risk of the highly contagious, highly preventable liver disease every Friday in May. Clinics will be held at each health department on May 17, 24 and 31, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
“We urge individuals with one or more of these risk factors to get vaccinated against this vaccine-preventable disease,” said Dr. Unini Odama, health director for the Georgia Department of Public Health Northwest Health District. “The best way to prevent Hepatitis A is to practice good hygiene, proper handwashing, careful and sanitary preparation of food, and by getting vaccinated against the hepatitis A virus.”
Hepatitis A can range from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe illness lasting several months.
Symptoms of Hepatitis A can include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, fever, diarrhea and headache. It is usually transmitted from person to person through the fecal-oral route or consumption of contaminated food or water.
Georgia health officials also said Tuesday that the number of measles cases here remains at six. Overall, 839 cases of measles have been confirmed in 23 states.
The highly contagious liver infection has hit the Northwest Georgia area pretty hard. While the cases are reported as being in the Rome district, they’re spread throughout the 10-county Northwest Georgia district.