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Health district confirms 11 cases of hepatitis A in Yakima County

YAKIMA, Wash. -- The Yakima Health District has confirmed a total of 11 cases of hepatitis A in Yakima County as of Thursday, Nov. 21.

All of the cases reside among the homeless and illicit drug user populations. 

The health district says its staff has been working diligently with partners to respond to the county's hepatitis A outbreak since it was declared on Nov. 7.

In partnership with Yakima Neighborhood Health Services, Yakima County Jail and Indian Health Services, the heath district has successfully vaccinated 74 individuals. In addition to vaccinating those most at-risk for infection, health district staff have been in-close communication with medical providers to ensure expedited investigation and vaccination of suspected cases. 

Health district staff have also been reaching out to organizations that serve homeless and drug using communities to provide education on actions they can take to prevent exposure to hepatitis A and symptoms to watch out for. 

RELATED: Health District: Hepatitis A outbreak in Yakima County, possible exposure at Popeye's

Hepatitis A is a vaccine preventable, communicable disease of the liver caused by the hepatitis A
virus. It is usually transmitted person-to-person when a person unknowingly ingests the virus from
touching objects or consuming food contaminated with stool from an infected person. 

Hepatitis A can also be spread from close, personal contact with an infected person.

After someone has been exposed to hepatitis A, symptoms may begin to develop two to six weeks after infection. Symptoms include yellow skin or eyes (jaundice), dark urine and/or pale stools, loss of appetite, fever, diarrhea, fatigue, vomiting and abdominal pain.

Anyone with symptoms consistent with hepatitis A should week medical attention. 

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