NC reports the first death from Hepatitis A outbreak

November 8, 2018 by John Murawski, The Charlotte Observer
Electron micrograph of the Hepatitis A virus (HAV). Credit: CDC/Betty Partin

North Carolina has reported its first death from Hepatitis A, a virus-borne infection that can be prevented by vaccination.

The death, which occurred in October, is part of a multistate of the potentially fatal disease, the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services said Tuesday.

The state health agency does not provide any details about the to protect the privacy of the family affected.

The A outbreak is associated with person-to-person transmission primarily among three risk groups: people who use drugs by injecting or other ways, people who are homeless, and men who have sex with men.

To stop the spread of the disease in North Carolina, county health departments are offering free vaccinations to people who are uninsured and in the high-risk groups, said Heidi Swygard, viral hepatitis medical director in the Public Health Division at NC DHHS.

North Carolina doesn't require vaccinations against hepatitis A, Swygard said, and many Americans haven't developed immunity to the diseases because it's not widely circulating.

Hepatitis A is a liver infection that can pass in a few weeks as a mild illness or develop into a serious illness and last several months, according to DHHS. The agency said hepatitis A is usually transmitted through food or water that has been contaminated by feces from a contagious person.

The outbreak, announced in March 2017 by the U.S. Centers of Disease Control, has caused a spike in North Carolina hepatitis infections, primarily in Mecklenburg County.

This year, North Carolina had reported 64 hepatitis cases as of Oct. 31.

The state's annual average for total hepatitis infections between 2013 and 2107 was 41 hepatitis cases a year.

Of the 37 cases associated with the outbreak, 20 have been reported in Mecklenburg County. Six have been reported in the Triangle: three in Wake County, two in Johnston and one in Durham.

Hepatitis A symptoms include fever, fatigue, nausea, loss of appetite and stomach pain. Some patients develop jaundice and discolored urine and feces.

The outbreak has been reported in a dozen states, many of them with more cases than North Carolina. Kentucky has reported a total of 2,410 cases and 16 deaths, while California has reported 704 cases and 21 deaths, and Michigan has had 899 cases and 28 deaths.

Explore further: Hepatitis A outbreak seen in Los Angeles County

shares

Related Stories

Hepatitis A outbreak seen in Los Angeles County

September 19, 2017
Public health authorities on Tuesday declared an outbreak of the highly contagious liver disease hepatitis A in Los Angeles County, the third California region to see significant infections this year.

US advisory group urges hepatitis A shots for homeless

October 24, 2018
For the first time, a U.S. advisory committee is recommending a routine vaccination for homeless people, voting Wednesday to urge hepatitis A shots to prevent future outbreaks of the contagious liver disease.

San Diego battles deadly Hepatitis A outbreak

August 29, 2017
A record outbreak of Hepatitis A has killed 14 people and put scores in hospital in San Diego, hitting mostly homeless and patients using intravenous drugs.

San Diego County sees slowdown in Hepatitis A cases

December 19, 2017
San Diego County is seeing a slowdown in the number of cases of Hepatitis A from an average of 84 per week this summer to only two in the first three weeks of December.

San Diego reports 20th death from Hepatitis A outbreak

November 1, 2017
San Diego County has reported a 20th person has died from a Hepatitis A outbreak—the worst of its kind in the United States in 20 years.

NFID initiative working to up hepatitis B vaccination rates

July 30, 2018
(HealthDay)—A new initiative to increase hepatitis B virus vaccination rates among at-risk adults has been developed, according to a report from the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) published in support ...

Recommended for you

Scientists shed new light on infection process of the gastrointestinal pathogen C. difficile

November 21, 2018
Scientists from the VIB-UGent Center for Inflammation Research identified the mechanisms by which the bacterial pathogen Clostridium difficile kills intestinal epithelial cells (IECs), thus destroying the protective mucosal ...

As antibiotic resistance grows, researchers find new targets for fighting deadly staph infections

November 21, 2018
A new look at the inner-workings of bacterial cells could help researchers overcome deadly antibiotic resistance and save the lives of tens-of-thousands of people every year.

Can liver disease be linked to heart failure? Study highlights liver-heart interaction

November 21, 2018
Virginia Commonwealth University researchers have collaborated on a clinical trial that identifies indicators for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease—a typically asymptomatic disease caused by fat buildup in the liver and ...

Researchers find infectious prions throughout eyes of patients with deadly sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease

November 20, 2018
By the time symptoms of sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (sCJD) are typically discovered, death is looming and inevitable. But, in a new study, researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine with colleagues ...

Researchers a step closer to understanding how deadly bird flu virus takes hold in humans

November 19, 2018
New research has taken a step towards understanding how highly pathogenic influenza viruses such as deadly bird flu infect humans.

Infants born to obese mothers risk developing liver disease, obesity

November 16, 2018
Infant gut microbes altered by their mother's obesity can cause inflammation and other major changes within the baby, increasing the risk of obesity and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease later in life, according to researchers ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.