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Local Officials Plan To Fight HepA

Steve Burns

Earlier this week, the Indiana Department of Health confirmed its first death associated with a multi-state Hepatitis A outbreak. The Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health has begun efforts to slow the spread of the virus.

Indiana typically sees about 20 Hepatitis A cases a year. This year, however, there are 220 cases associated with the outbreak and over 100 hospitalizations, according to the Indiana Department of Health.

There are ten states involved in a multi-state outbreak hitting the midwest the hardest, with about 4,000 cases confirmed.

The state has distributed an additional $1 million to local health departments in an effort to prevent further transmission of the virus.

Allen County Health Commissioner Dr. Deb McMahan, says the state is helping their efforts to prevent an outbreak in Allen County by providing Hepatitis A vaccines. The vaccines are being administered to at-risk populations.

McMahan says this Hepatitis A outbreak is more aggressive than what experts have seen in the past.

“About half the people, roughly, have needed to be hospitalized. Most people will be symptomatic, so that’s the bad news”, said McMahan. “The good news is that most people will not have a bad outcome like death and you don’t become a chronic carrier like you would with Hepatitis B or C.”

Hepatitis A is contract through contact with an infected person or contaminated food and a vaccine is readily available from health care providers and pharmacies.


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