DARKE COUNTY – The Darke County Health Department will hold a Hepatitis A Vaccine clinic on Feb. 7, while supplies last, at no cost to attendees.
The clinic will be held at the health department from 3 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. Those who have insurance should bring their insurance card. However, for those who are uninsured, there will not be a charge for the vaccine.
Hepatitis A is a highly contagious liver disease that can be spread without knowing it. It is spread from person to person through contact with the feces of people who are infected. This can easily happen if someone does not wash their hands properly. Hepatitis A virus can be found on doorknobs, grocery carts, diapers and even food.
Hepatitis A vaccines were recommended starting in 1996 in the United States. Since then, the number of cases reported each year in the United States has dropped from 31,000 cases to fewer than 1,500 cases. However, due to an outbreak, in 2018 nearly 1,500 cases were reported in Ohio alone. There also were four deaths during this outbreak.
Darke County had 17 cases of Hepatitis A in 2018. To put that into perspective, Darke County had zero cases in 2015, one case in 2016 and one case in 2017.
It is recommended all children get the first dose of vaccine between 12 and 23 months. The second dose is needed six months later. However, it is never too late to get vaccinated.
Children younger than 6 years old with Hepatitis A usually don’t have symptoms. Therefore, they pass the disease to others without knowing they were infected. Vaccination, along with proper and frequent hand washing, are critical to prevent Hepatitis A.
Symptoms of Hepatitis A include fatigue, decreased appetite, stomach pain, nausea, light-colored stools and yellowing of the skin and eyes. Most people who get Hepatitis A feel sick a couple of months, but they typically recover with no lasting liver damage. However, Hepatitis A can cause liver failure and death. This is rare and occurs more commonly in people older than 50 years old and people with underlying liver diseases.
Appointments are encouraged for the Hepatitis A vaccine clinic. For an appointment, call 937-548-4196 x224. Walk ins also are welcome.