The Ohio Department of Health has declared a statewide outbreak of hepatitis A, with the number of cases in 2018 on track to quadruple last year’s total.
The health department says the increase is in cases linked to risk factors such as illegal drug use, homelessness and people who have been incarcerated – or people who have had contact with known cases.
A number of Ohio’s hepatitis A cases have been linked to outbreaks in Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan and West Virginia. Symptoms include fatigue, low appetite, stomach pain, nausea, clay-colored stools and jaundice.
The state health department has provided more than 5,000 doses of vaccine to local health departments, and declaring an outbreak ensures access to additional vaccine through the federal Centers for Disease Control.
Ohio is reporting 79 hepatitis A cases so far this year, almost double the number of cases reported during all of last year.
The Ohio Department of Health's county-by-county hepatitis A webpage will be updated today -- and every Monday -- at 2 p.m.