The St. Francois County Health Center has seen an increase in Hepatitis A cases in the past two months.
The health center has investigated five cases of Hepatitis A. These cases are included in the statewide Hepatitis A outbreak that is ongoing in Missouri.
St. Francois County is already participating in the Missouri 317 program which will provide Hepatitis A vaccines among others. This program allows individuals who are 19 years of age and older to receive the Hepatitis A vaccine at no cost if they meet one or more of the below risk factors.
Eligibility requirements are as follows:
- persons who use recreational drugs;
- persons experiencing homelessness;
- a man who has sex with men;
- persons in treatment or counseling for substance abuse;
- persons receiving drug substitution treatment and/or participate in drug court;
- persons who work or have been detained in jail or a detention center; and
- persons who have had close contact with the above group(s) or a confirmed hepatitis A case.
Hepatitis A is a liver infection that can cause fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, yellowing of skin or eyes (jaundice), dark urine, and more. It is important that if you are experiencing any of these symptoms to see a medical professional as soon as possible. Any close contacts to a Hepatitis A case can get Hepatitis A vaccine at no charge through the health center.
It is important to note how Hepatitis A is spread. This condition is primarily spread by fecal-oral route. That is to say: if someone does not wash their hands after using the bathroom or changing a child’s diaper, and then prepares your food, you are at risk for Hepatitis A.
Hepatitis A is also present in the blood during illness onset. For these reasons; food service workers, daycare providers/workers, and healthcare workers need to be especially careful of good hygiene in the workplace. These occupations can pose a greater risk of outbreak in their facilities as well due to the nature of their jobs.
As always, you may contact the St. Francois County Health Center at 573-431-1947 ext. 142 if you have any further questions or concerns.