BEND, Ore. – Deschutes County Public Health officials on Wednesday confirmed three recent, closely connected cases of hepatitis A, the first cases of the viral disease reported in the county in over a year.
Program Manager Heather Kaisner said two of the cases were reported in April and a third last week, all involving adults who had experienced “housing instability.” None involved exposures at restaurants or schools, she added.
Kaisner said there were no Deschutes County cases reported last year of the illness, which is spread through contact with others in poor sanitary conditions, and only five cases over the previous four years.
She noted that the hepatitis A vaccine, introduced more than 20 years ago, resulted in a drop in outbreaks, largely after Oregon and other states required immunization for public school students.
Kaisner said they have notified all known close contacts during their investigation.
The disease is usually spread by someone ingesting something contaminated from the feces of an infected person. Symptoms include fever, fatigue, nausea, abdominal pain, dark urine, joint pain and jaundice. Most people recover fully under treatment, though there can be issues, especially for those already in poor health. More information at:
Although officials believe the recent string of cases may have run their course, Kaisner said the county has acquired more hepatitis A vaccine from the state and will offer it at places that assist the homeless.
More information: https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/hav/pdfs/hepageneralfactsheet.pdf