Three patients have been diagnosed with Hepatitis A in Clarke County, Alabama, according to an announcement from the Alabama Department of Public Health. The health authorities are currently investigating the individuals in question in order to understand how they got sick. However, the department is already aware that two of the patients have recently traveled abroad, which might explain the contamination.
Hepatitis A is a highly contagious disease of the liver caused by the Hepatitis A virus, whose main vehicle of contraction is through contact with food or drinks infected with fecal material. The symptoms of the disease include fatigue, nausea, abdominal pain, loss of appetite and jaundice, and while sometimes the virus resolves itself in about two weeks, severe cases may last more than a month to be cured.
The three cases of Hepatitis A in Clarke County are no reason for alarm, especially since the disease is not contagious through casual contact. However, the risk is higher in case of home sharing or sexual contact. Washing hands frequently with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds is one of the best practices for avoiding the virus from spreading, as recommended by the Alabama department of public health.
The authorities advised that anyone who suspects to have it, or to know anyone who does, should contact a healthcare provider immediately. The health department also noted that the symptoms of the disease tend to develop 15 to 50 days after an infection, and that people who were received the Hepatitis A vaccine in the past are not at risk of developing symptoms. The vaccine prevents patients from developing Hepatitis A when it is administered up to two weeks after the infection.