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Pennsylvania warns of 'significant' increase in Hepatitis A cases

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) - Pennsylvania is reporting a significant increase in Hepatitis A cases.

Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said 91 cases have been reported so far this year. Pennsylvania typically has 40-60 cases per year.

Levine says there is increased concern for the disease spreading to other people across the state, particularly within the homeless, men who have sex with men, and people who use injection and non-injection drugs.

The Health Department says several other states have been experiencing large, ongoing Hepatitis A outbreaks, including neighboring states Ohio and West Virginia.

"The increase in cases highlights the importance of having a primary care physician who you can speak to if you have concerns over your health,” Levine said. “Hepatitis A is a highly contagious infection that can be very serious. A conversation with your physician will help determine if you should receive a Hepatitis A vaccine.”

The Health Department says Hepatitis A is a highly contagious liver infection that ranges in severity from a mild infection lasting a few weeks to a severe disease that lasts for months.

The infection typically spreads when the virus is ingested from objects, food or drinks contaminated by small, undetectable amounts of stool from an infected person. Hepatitis A can also spread from close personal contact with an infected person, such as through sex or caring for someone who is ill.


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