(SULLIVAN) – Over the weekend health officials were investigating a case of Hepatitis A at the McDonalds in Sullivan.
Officials say the state of Indiana is experiencing hepatitis an outbreak. According to the state health department, 1,500 cases have been confirmed with 806 people being hospitalized and four deaths. Normally the state only sees about 20 cases in a year. As of today, Marion County has the highest number of cases at 214. Lawrence County has 55 cases, and Monroe County is at 52 and Jackson County with 41, Washington County at 20 and Orange County at 16 and Greene County at 6.
Hepatitis A is a highly contagious liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV). It can range from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe illness lasting a few months. Symptoms of hepatitis A usually appear two to six weeks after someone is infected.
Hepatitis A is usually spread person-to-person when someone accidentally consumes stool (poop) of someone with hepatitis A or by consuming food or water contaminated with the virus. During this outbreak, the hepatitis A virus has been spread person-to-person; no contaminated food or water has been identified.
The case at McDonald’s is the most recent case in Sullivan. The restaurant was closed, cleaned, and now is again open.
The hepatitis A vaccine is highly effective at preventing hepatitis A. If you have been exposed to hepatitis A or are homeless, use illicit drugs, were recently incarcerated, or had contact with someone who has hepatitis A, contact your healthcare provider about hepatitis A vaccine.
Proper handwashing with soap and running water, especially before preparing food and after using the restroom, can also help prevent the spread of hepatitis A.
For more information on the Indiana hepatitis A outbreak you can visit the state department website, by clicking here.