(And Yes There Are Cases in Lafayette Parish)

By Christy Lenahan - Macaroni Kid Health Hack Contributor December 27, 2018

As of December 14, 2018 the Louisiana Office of Public Health was

investigating an outbreak of Hepatitis A throughout the state. The most recent data

indicates there are 25 documented cases in a number of parishes with 5 – 10 cases

being reported in Morehouse parish and less than 5 cases being reported in each of

the following parishes: Ouachita, Allen, Lafayette, Pointe Coupee, West Baton

Rouge, East Baton Rouge, Livingston, Ascension, St. Tammany, and Orleans. Two

weeks ago this outbreak was limited to Morehouse parish, so you can see how

quickly and sporadically it has spread.

Hepatitis A is an extremely contagious virus that affects the liver. Signs and

symptoms can be mild or severe and include: fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea,

vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, diarrhea, clay-colored stool, joint pain and

jaundice. In very rare instances, it can result in death. On average, symptoms of

Hepatitis A last less than 2 months, but can last as long as 6 months. Once exposed

to Hepatitis A, symptoms appear an average of 4 weeks later. There are several

populations at greater risk for Hepatitis A, but considering the recent outbreak we

are all at risk.

The most effective way to prevent Hepatitis A is through a series of

vaccinations. Children typically receive this series around the age of 12 months.

The second most effective way to prevent Hepatitis A is to practice good hand

hygiene, which includes thoroughly washing your hands before and after using the

bathroom, changing diapers, and before preparing or eating food. If you think you

might have been exposed to Hepatitis A, visit with your healthcare professional and

ask for the vaccine (it will only be effective if given within 2 weeks of exposure). If

you are actively having symptoms of Hepatitis A, see your healthcare provider


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