Approximately 150 to 200 people who were potentially exposed to hepatitis A have been contacted by the Cabell-Huntington Health Department and urged to attend a special vaccine clinic from noon to 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 20, at Milton Elementary School.
Five cases of hepatitis A were reported in Eastern Cabell County last week and are still being investigated by the Health Department, spokeswoman Elizabeth Ayers said Monday morning. No additional cases have been reported, she said.
The five cases include both adults and children. Everyone who was exposed to a confirmed case within the past two weeks has been contacted, Ayers said. The vaccine clinic in Milton is geared toward those people, she said.
Hepatitis A is transmitted through fecal-oral contact, and hand-washing is stressed to prevent the spread of the disease. It is not spread by blood-to-blood contact like hepatitis B or C.
Symptoms usually appear 15-50 days after exposure and can include, fever, jaundice, grey-colored stools, dark urine, abdominal pain, vomiting, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea and joint pain. Some people, especially children, may have no symptoms, which is why proper handwashing is critical, health officials say.
The disease is preventable, with vaccines available to both children and adults in a series of two doses six months apart. Most children younger than 4 are immunized since pediatricians have recently begun recommending the vaccine.
Adults and children older than 4 are urged to get the vaccine. Those who have received one dose of the vaccine and have been exposed should get a second dose. Once receiving both doses, the vaccine lasts a lifetime.
In addition to Monday’s clinic in Milton, the vaccine is offered at the health department from 8 to 11 a.m. or 1 to 3 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The cost is $27 per shot for adults.
For more information, call the Health Department at 304-526-3397 or www.cabellhealth.org.