Hepatitis A outbreak in Mississippi reports 9 cases in Pearl River County
Mississippi is currently experiencing an outbreak of Hepatitis A with marked sustained increases in cases since April 2019, indicating a concern for ongoing person to person transmission. In June 2019 the Mississippi State Department of Health issued a Health Alert indicating a rise in the number of reported cases, especially among high risk groups.
Since that time there have been continued increases in the number of reported cases. As of September 9, 2019, there are 46 outbreak cases.
Age Range: 2–67 years of age (median age: 36 years)
Male: 32 (70%); Female: 14 (30%)
Recreational drug use: 32 (71%)
Men who have sex with men (MSM): 2 (7%)
Homeless: 7 (15%)
Incarcerated/Recently Incarcerated: 5 (11%)
Sixty-three percent of the hepatitis A patients have been hospitalized.
Hepatitis A is a viral disease of the liver transmitted by close personal contact, including sexual contact, or consumption of food or water contaminated by an infected person. Hepatitis A causes fatigue, low appetite, stomach pain, nausea and jaundice for up to two months of infection. Vaccination is the best protection against hepatitis A infection.
Hepatitis A infection spreads from an infected person to other by personal contact or contact with objects or food they handle:
· Ingestion of the virus through close personal contact with an infected person, such caring for someone who has hepatitis A or living in the same household as someone who is infected
· Consuming food or drink that is contaminated with feces of an infected person
· Handling objects or sharing objects that are contaminated with the feces of an infected person
Pearl River County has the most reported cases in the state with 9, Benton County
has 5, and Jones County has 4. George County has 3 cases.
Hepatitis A can be prevented through a vaccine. Other prevention measures include practicing strong hygiene habits such as thoroughly washing your hands after using the bathroom.