Indiana advises hepatitis A vaccine for those visiting Kentucky, Michigan

INDIANAPOLIS -- Indiana health officials advise residents to get vaccinated for hepatitis A if their summer plans include visits to Kentucky or Michigan.

Significant outbreaks of the liver-damaging virus have been reported in those states, according to Indiana's Department of Health.

Kentucky has seen 352 cases of the highly contagious viral infection and three deaths, most of those in the Louisville area.

Michigan has had more than 800 cases, including 25 deaths.

Hepatitis A can range from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe illness lasting several months, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Most people who get hepatitis A feel sick for several weeks, but they usually recover completely and do not have lasting liver damage.

Symptoms can include:

  • fever
  • fatigue
  • loss of appetite
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • abdominal pain
  • dark urine
  • clay-colored stools
  • joint pain
  • jaundice, or yellowing of the skin and eyes

Although rare, hepatitis A can cause death in some people.

Hepatitis A usually spreads when a person unknowingly ingests the virus from objects, food, or drinks contaminated by small, undetected amounts of stool from an infected person.

The CDC recommends the hepatitis A vaccination for:

  • all children at age 1 year
  • travelers to countries where hepatitis A is common
  • family and caregivers of adoptees from countries where hepatitis A is common
  • men who have sexual encounters with other men
  • users of recreational drugs, whether injected or not
  • people with chronic or long-term liver disease, including hepatitis B or hepatitis C
  • people with clotting-factor disorders
  • people with direct contact with others who have hepatitis A
  • any person wishing to obtain immunity
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