County issues hepatitis A alert; health department trying to track down source of several local cases
BULLHEAD CITY — The Mohave County Public Health Department has issued a hepatitis A alert.
In a press release, the health department said that in April and May, several cases of hepatitis A were identified in Mohave County.
“There were identified cases in the Bullhead City service area and Lake Havasu service area,” said Lynne Valentine, Mohave County Public Health nursing services manager. “Investigations have not revealed any public incident, event or restaurant to be the source of transmission.”
Valentine confirmed that investigations still are ongoing.
According to the health department, hepatitis A is a serious and contagious liver disease caused by the hepatitis A virus. It is most commonly spread when someone puts something in their mouth that has touched the feces or soiled fingers of an infected person such as food, drinks or other contaminated objects. Hepatitis A also can be spread through illicit drug use (whether injected or not) as well as sexual contact.
“The best thing people can do is to get vaccinated,” said Valentine. “Washing hands with soap and water before eating and preparing food is important.”
The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention has stated that most people who get hepatitis A feel sick for several weeks, but usually recover completely and do not have lasting liver damage. In rare cases, hepatitis A can cause liver failure and death; this is more common in people older than 50 and in people with other underlying liver diseases.
According to the county health department, hepatitis A symptoms include abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea, tiredness, dark urine, fever, loss of appetite, light- or grey-colored stools and jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).
The health department urged people with symptoms of hepatitis A to see a health care provider to be evaluated.