BOISE, Idaho (US) – Public health officials have reported an upsurge in hepatitis A cases in the Boise area. Six cases have been reported among residents of Ada County and Elmore County since January 1st.
Normally, the region sees only one or two cases a year.
The Central District Health Department sent a bulletin to health care providers in the region on Tuesday, warning that infections are spreading locally. Until now, the six patients are all men between 30 and 60 years old.
"We know something is happening in the community," said CDHD spokeswoman Christine Myron. "Hepatitis can be very delicate because of the long incubation period.A person may be exposed and present no symptoms until maybe four weeks after his exposure."
Hepatitis A causes inflammation of the liver and is usually transmitted from person to person through a faecal-oral transmission. It can be transmitted by food handled by a person with hepatitis A or by contact with a person infected with the disease.
Symptoms include nausea, lack of appetite, fever and abdominal pain. It can also cause jaundice, skin and yellowish eyes.
Hepatitis A can be prevented by a vaccine.
"At this point, as we have no particular point to report, we do not want people to be too worried or alert," Myron said. "It's always a good opportunity to check your vaccination record."