July 2, 2018

We have had a Nationwide outbreak of Hepatitis A for over a year. It finally reached the Carolina's this past month. The current NC outbreak has been traced to an employee at a Hardees in Charlotte. This is a potential problem for many unvaccinated Americans.

Hepatitis A is a virally induced inflammatory disease of the liver. It is transmitted from an infected human to another via unclean hands or from contaminated water and food. It is a self limited infection and does not cause chronic liver disease. However, in the acute

phase, you can suffer serious liver injury that could cause death or require a liver transplant. For most individuals, it is a mild illness that presents with fatigue, nausea, vomiting, right sided abdominal pain and a low grade fever. You may also experience skin itching, yellowing of the skin and eyes and dark colored urine. Otherwise, in rare cases, you can get fulminant liver inflammation.

Children almost always have either no symptoms or very mild symptoms that make it very hard to diagnose. Adults, on the other hand, especially the elderly, are at higher risk for death and severe liver disease.

There is no treatment for Hepatitis A except for supportive care. The best way to deal with Hepatitis A is to prevent it through vaccination. In my 25 years of medical work, I have never had a patient get the Hepatitis A vaccine and have a side effect.

Anytime there is an outbreak of any vaccine preventable disease, please consider vaccinating your family.

Hepatitis A is here and potentially a threat to your family. Go to your provider's office and start the two shot series.

Dr. M

Mayo Clinic