HAMILTON, Ohio -- Drug use is one of the reasons Butler County has the highest number of cases of hepatitis A in Ohio, health officials said Monday.
Since July, the county has seen 245 cases of hep A. Butler County usually has zero to one case per year.
More than 90 percent of cases in Butler County involved the use of illicit drugs like “IV and non-IV drugs, including marijuana,” health officials said.
Greater Cincinnati is in the middle of a hep A outbreak; about 600 cases have been reported. The virus, which affects the liver, is preventable with hand-washing or a vaccine.
hepatitis A can have a long incubation period. People infected may not experience symptoms for 15 to 50 days after exposure.
Symptoms may include:
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal pain
- Yellowing of the skin or eyes
- Dark urine
According to the FDA, hepatitis A is commonly spread when when a person ingests fecal matter from an infected person. Proper hand washing is a key component of stopping the spread of hep A. More information about the safety alert is available on the FDA’s website.
Butler County residents can get a vaccine at the following locations:
- From your healthcare provider
- CVS, Walgreens, Kroger, Meijer, Walmart, Kroger or urgent care
- Community clinic such as Primary Health Solutions or Centerpointe
- Local public health departments