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KCHD sees increase in Hepatitis A vaccines since announcing disease outbreak

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Kanawha-Charleston Health Department has provided 150 Hepatitis A vaccines since announcing a multi-state outbreak of the disease.

The department said a few weeks ago that recent cases of Hepatitis A in Kanawha and Putnam counties were linked to the outbreak. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported California, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan and Utah were also affected by the outbreak.

John Law, spokesman for KCHD, said people are realizing how important it is to protect themselves against the disease.

“I think it’s very illustrated of the fact that people are paying attention to this and taking note that it’s something they need to do,” he said.

There were 28 cases of Hepatitis A in Kanawha and Putnam counties since the start of this year, according to KCHD.

Hepatitis A is spread through contact with someone with the disease, primarily from encountering food surfaces or ingesting contaminated human waste. Common symptoms of Hepatitis A include yellowing of the skin or eyes, abdominal pain in the upper right side of the body, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

“It affects your liver and that’s not something you want to fool around with at any time particularly with Hepatitis A when you can get a vaccine and prevent it,” Law said.

The department is offering vaccines for Hepatitis A. A patient’s insurance company will be billed. The department will help those who may not have health insurance. Law said they are working with state officials to offer free shots for people living in high-risk areas.

It’s a series of two shots — one will be given during your visit and the second will be given six months from then.

People are welcome to call the health department to schedule an appointment. Walk-ins are also welcome.

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