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Jackson County Health Department Discouraged With Hepatitis A Clinic Turnout

Last updated on Tuesday, December 4, 2018

(SEYMOUR) - The Jackson County Health Department continues to promote the prevention of hepatitis A following a recent vaccination clinic.

Around 240 people received the vaccine Wednesday after consuming food or drinks from the Taco Bell drive-through Nov. 13 and 14. The health department confirmed an infected employee worked ill on those dates.

The CDC recommended the health department conduct the clinic because of the risk to the general population.

Lin Montgomery, the department's public health coordinator, was disappointed in the number of those who showed up for the vaccine. The department had planned for 2,000 to attend. She says there should have been more attending the clinic considering the volume of traffic the restaurant serves through its drive-through and those dining at the establishment.

Officials say the best way to prevent contracting the virus is to receive a vaccination and practice hand washing habits which is one of the best ways to protect against the virus. The vaccination will not treat the disease. Those infected need to take antibiotics.

The vaccination is only about 97 percent effective and a booster shot is needed six months later.

Hepatitis A is a condition caused by a virus. It is an infectious condition with few or no symptoms. The time between infection and the start of symptoms is approximately two to six weeks. Once the symptoms appear, loss of appetite, nausea, diarrhea, fatigue, fever, stomach pain, brown-colored urine, and light-colored stool - can last up to eight weeks. Approximately 10 to 15 percent of individuals have a recurrence of their symptoms within six months after infection. Hepatitis A usually resolves by itself but can also lead to acute liver failure.

Hepatitis A usually spreads via the consumption of food or water that is contaminated with infected feces. Another common source is insufficiently cooked shellfish. It can also spread from person to person through close contact. Infected children often do not have symptoms but are still able to infect others.

The diagnosis can be achieved through blood tests.

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