Health Department Mapping Hepatitis A Outbreaks After New Exposure Reported In Eastern Arkansas

(Courtesy of the Arkansas Department of Health)

LITTLE ROCK (KFSM) — The Arkansas Department of Health is using a map to help track a Hepatitis A outbreak after another report of exposure turned up recently in eastern Arkansas.

The ADH has tracked 382 cases of hepatitis A since February 2018, with the majority of them being in northeastern Arkansas. Greene and Craighead counties have had the most cases in the last 18 months, with more than 100 cases each.

The latest outbreak is related to possible exposure at a McDonald’s in Trumann, located in Poinsett County in eastern Arkansas. According to a press release from the ADH, anyone who ate at the McDonald’s at 500 Industrial Park Drive between July 9 and July 16 may be exposed and should seek a hep A vaccination immediately if they have not been vaccinated or are unsure of their vaccine status.

There are no specific treatments for those who contract hep A. Symptoms include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, clay-colored bowel movements, joint pain and jaundice (yellowing of eyes or skin). The illness can last a few weeks to several months.

Hep A is spread from person to person when a person ingests it from fecal matter through contact with objects, food or drinks contaminated with feces from an infected person. Poor sanitary conditions and poor hygiene are the biggest contributors to the spread of the disease, the ADH says. An infected person can pass the disease to someone up to two weeks before the infected person’s symptoms appear, if they do at all.

The map shows only two counties in Northwest Arkansas and the River Valley with reported cases. Both Washington County and Logan County show less than 5 cases each, according to the map.

The Logan County case may be related to an employee at a Fort Smith restaurant who tested positive in August 2018.

The Washington County case was reported in May as being related to the statewide outbreak and was considered to be isolated.

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