Thursday, August 11, 2011

Hepatitis A Virus Cluster

Maine CDC is investigating a cluster of acute hepatitis A virus infections in Northern Lincoln County. Currently, 2 suspect and 3 confirmed cases have been identified. The first identified infected person had a history of recent international travel. The other four ill individuals were close contacts of the first case-patient.

Hepatitis A is an uncommon disease in Maine, with an average of 10 cases reported each year.

Illness caused by hepatitis A virus typically has an abrupt onset and can include fever, malaise, anorexia, nausea, abdominal discomfort, dark urine, and jaundice.

The average incubation period for hepatitis A is 28 days (range: 15-50 days). Individuals are considered infectious from 2 weeks before until 1 week after the onset of jaundice. The infectious periods for the persons in the Northern Lincoln County cluster range from early-July to mid-August. The virus is excreted in feces and is transmitted by the fecal-oral route or through the consumption of contaminated food or water. Good hand washing is key to limiting disease transmission.

For more information, see this Health Alert.

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