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Hepatitis A Investigation

There is an increase in the number of cases of the Hepatitis A virus in the region north of Gravenhurst to Huntsville.

Hepatitis A is a liver infection caused by the Hepatitis A virus. It is very contagious. Hepatitis A virus is found in the stool/poo of infected persons. Those infected persons can spread the virus to others by not washing their hands well enough after using the toilet or diapering children, and then touching food, drinks, surfaces and objects that others may then come into contact. This is how the Hepatitis A virus can then go into your mouth and infect you. In addition, some sexual activities which involve the anal area can expose you to Hepatitis A. You can spread the virus to others even before you have symptoms, therefore proper handwashing is very important.

Symptoms may include:

  • fever, feeling sick (nausea),
  • loss of appetite,
  • tummy (abdominal) discomfort,
  • followed by signs of jaundice (yellowness of the skin, and/or eyes).

Small children usually have mild or no symptoms. Symptoms usually start about four weeks after exposure to the virus, although this period can range from 15 to 50 days. If you have any of the symptoms listed above call your health care provider or us at 705-721-7520 (1-877-721-7520).

There is no specific treatment for Hepatitis A. People with this infection generally recover at home. Some people who may not have strong immune systems or liver disease can be at greater risk for more severe complications due to the Hepatitis A virus, and may require care at the hospital.

Do not drink alcoholic beverages during the early part of infection.

The best way to prevent Hepatitis A is through vaccination with the Hepatitis A vaccine. Other ways include frequent and proper handwashing after using the toilet (and diapering children) and before touching food. Also washing fruits and vegetables before eating.
The vaccine is generally 80% effective at preventing symptoms when received within one week of exposure. The vaccine can prevent the spread of the virus to your family, friends or colleagues.

If you have Hepatitis A, and you are a food handler, healthcare, child care worker or a caregiver, you should not go to work while you are having symptoms. In addition, you may have to stop working for one to two weeks after symptoms start. Children in child care settings who have Hepatitis A may also need to stay home for a period of time after symptoms start.

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