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Ohio offers $650K to help local health agencies combat Hepatitis A outbreak

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Hepatitis A outbreak in Ohio

As Hepatitis A outbreak grows, the Ohio Department of Health announced $650,000 fund divided among local health agencies to help them offset costs.

Media reports said the move was made following a request for help from Clermont County. Ohio’s Acting health director Dr. Amy Acton announced the commitment at a state public health conference in Columbus.

How can the money help address the Hepatitis A outbreak?

According to the health agency, the fund can help cover costs related to the control and prevention of the disease. It includes vaccination of individuals not listed in the high-risk groups but can avail the vaccine from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The government at the national and local departments are trying to reach populations classified as at-risk through education and vaccination.
The at-risk population includes the homeless, the incarcerated, and men who had sex with men. Illegal drug users and people traveling to developing countries are also included in the list.

Individuals who are most in need of vaccination are those with liver diseases like Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C, as well as very young children.

Local health agencies have until June 4 to apply for their funding share.

How serious is the Hepatitis A Outbreak?

Hepatitis A is a viral disease that attacks the liver. Common symptoms include nausea, abdominal pain, diarrhea, jaundice, and fever. The virus is usually food-borne but can be transmitted via oral contact with contaminated feces, even in tiny amounts.

The statewide Hepatitis A outbreak, which was declared almost a year ago already caused the death of eight people in Ohio. The state reported about 2,300 cases since January 2018. Over 50% of the cases resulted in hospitalizations.

As of to-date, Franklin County reported the most number of cases at 369. Butler County follows with 300. Hamilton and Warren counties have 160 and 53 cases, respectively. Southwest Ohio is a major hot spot for Hepatitis A.

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