Hep A outbreak spreads in Louisiana
Louisiana’s Hepatitis A outbreak is growing, with 305 new cases since an outbreak was declared last December. Assistant State Health Officer Dr. Joseph Kanter says while we haven’t seen outbreaks in the thousands like other states, it’s still a significantly more cases than normal.
“Typically, in Louisiana, every year we see between five and fifteen cases of Hepatitis A, so to have 300 cases, in less than 12 months, is very concerning for us.”
Hepatitis A is a highly contagious liver infection.
LDH is pushing back, hoping to contain the outbreak by vaccinating those who are most susceptible.
“The overwhelming majority of cases are centered on two main risk groups, and those are individuals experiencing homelessness, and individuals using drugs.”
Kanter recommends talking to your doctor about possibly getting vaccinated if you think you might be at risk.
Kanter says most cases of Hep A do not leave the patient with long term damage, but getting infected can be a really unpleasant experience.
“A disease of the liver and it starts with symptoms that look very much like a stomach bug, but it can progress to jaundice, which is a yellowing of the skin, a yellowing of the eyes, and people can get quite sick.”