Mississippi State Department of Health declared an outbreak of contagious liver disease Hepatitis A and urged people to get vaccinated.
On Wednesday, State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers said, “Twenty-three cases of the disease have been confirmed in Mississippi since April.”
The state has experienced cases of hepatitis A in 14 counties, with 61 percent of those infected hospitalized.
Mississippi averaged about five cases a year over the nine previous years.
Hepatitis A is a communicable disease that spreads through food or water contaminated with feces of an infected person. Others modes of transmission include personal or sexual contact and sharing objects with an infected person.
The signs and symptoms of Hepatitis A include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice), stomach pain, loss of appetite, and fever.
Dr. Byers said, “The state Health Department has investigated all cases to identify others who have been in contact and vaccinate them.”
According to the epidemiologist, recreational drug users, homeless people, current or recent jail inmates, and men who have sex with men are at risk of catching the infection.
Hepatitis A vaccines are available for those with no health insurance at county health departments. The vaccines are also available at medical offices and drugstores.
The spread of this viral infection can be prevented by keeping the surroundings clean, maintaining sanitation, and thoroughly washing your hands after using the bathroom.
Meanwhile, the Tennessee Department of Health has warned customers who visited a Tennessee McDonald’s last week after an employee tested positive for hepatitis A.
The health department said the employee worked on July 24 from 12 pm to 11:59 pm. The officials are investigating the case and suspecting that nearly 500 people might have been potentially exposed. The News Channel 11 reported, “The operator of the McDonald’s said that staff is working with the Northeast Tennessee Health Department to ensure the continued well-being for both our guests and crew.”