The Health Department in Martin County is urging good handwashing and vaccination to stop the spread of Hepatitis A in the community. Today, the Health Department confirmed 19 cases of Hepatitis A in Martin County and 3 deaths associated with complications from the virus. Hepatitis A is a vaccine-preventable liver disease. While normally not fatal, persons with chronic disease, compromised immune systems, and senior citizens are more likely to experience severe illness, leading to liver failure and possible death. Anyone experiencing symptoms of Hepatitis A should contact their healthcare provider for evaluation and testing. The Health Department in Martin County is offering the vaccine to persons who are uninsured and underinsured. The investigation into the possible modes of transmission for Hepatitis A in Martin County continues. The Health Department is utilizing local, regional and state resources in this investigation. An investigation includes interviews with confirmed cases to gather lifestyle information, including food histories, that can help to pinpoint common links. There have been more than 1,200 confirmed cases of Hepatitis A statewide. The Florida Department of Health considers a community "high risk" when the confirmed number of cases reaches 5. Martin County reached high-risk status with 5 confirmed cases as of Monday, April 1.
Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease usually spread person to person through objects, food or drink that is contaminated by small amounts of fecal matter transmitted from a person with Hepatitis A.
Symptoms usually start within 28 days of exposure to the virus with a range of 15-50 days. Symptoms can include: