BEND, Ore. – Officials from Deschutes County Public Health Wednesday confirmed three recent closely related cases of hepatitis A, the first cases of viral illness reported in the county for more than a year.
Program Manager Heather Kaisner said two of the cases had been reported in April and a third last week, all involving adults experiencing "housing instability". None of them had been exposed in restaurants or schools, she added.
Kaisner said that there had been no case of Deschutes County last year reported of the disease, which spreads through contact with others in poor sanitary conditions, and only five cases in the last four years.
She noted that the hepatitis A vaccine, introduced more than 20 years ago, had led to a decline in epidemics, especially after Oregon and other states required vaccination of public school students.
Kaisner said he informed all known close contacts during his investigation.
The disease is usually transmitted by a person ingesting something contaminated by the stool of an infected person. Symptoms include fever, fatigue, nausea, abdominal pain, dark urine, joint pain, and jaundice. Most people recover fully on treatment, but problems can arise, especially for those who are already in poor health. More information at:
Although officials believe the recent case series may have run its course, Kaisner said the county had acquired more hepatitis A vaccines from the state and that he Would offer in places of assistance to the homeless.
More information: https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/hav/pdfs/hepageneralfactsheet.pdf