PITTSBURGH - The Pennsylvania Department of Health delcared a Hepatitis A outbreak Monday, and Allegheny County is near the top of the list for infection.
The agency said Allegheny County has between 31 and 50 cases of the virus. The only other county with a similar number is near Philadelphia.
The agency said other counties in western Pennyslvania with cases include Lawrence, Mercer, Butler, Westmoreland, Washington, Greene and Somerset County. All of those counties count between one and 10 cases of infection.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Hepatitis A is a vaccine-preventable, spreadable disease of the liver. The CDC said It is usually transmitted person to person through sharing contaminated food or water, or the fecal-oral route.
Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said Ohio and West Virginia have seen more than 2,000 cases of infection since January 2018. By declaring an outbreak, Pennsylvania is eligible for federal money to buy additional vaccine if it is needed.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health said people most at risk of contracting hepatitis A are:
- Someone who has encountered a person who has hepatitis A;
- People who use injected illicit drugs;
- People who are homeless; and
- Men who have sex with other men.
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