Tel Aviv hepatitis A increases may be linked to open air markets
Dozens of hepatitis A cases reported in the Tel Aviv area in Israel since last year may be linked to vegetables health officials say, according to a Haaretz report Friday.
Israeli health officials say since the beginning of 2012, there have been 69 cases of the viral liver disease reported from the area, with the majority reported in the latter half of the year.
This is a dramatic increase from the seven cases reported in all of 2011.
According to the report, Health Ministry officials believe the source may be vegetables sold in open-air markets in the south of the city.
Hepatitis A is a viral infection of the liver. Symptoms may include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting and abdominal discomfort. Jaundice, a yellowing of the skin and eyes, may occur a few days after symptoms appear. Anyone with these symptoms should contact ahealth care provider.
The incubation period, or time between exposure and symptoms, is typically 28 days. It is possible for hepatitis A to be active but not show symptoms for up to 7 days. Symptoms usually last one to two weeks but can last longer. Young children with hepatitis A often have no symptoms.
Hepatitis A is spread person-to-person and through a fecal-oral transmission route, and typically occurs when a person eats food or drinks a beverage contaminated by someone with the virus. The virus is not spread by coughing, sneezing or by casual contact. Severe complications from hepatitis A are rare and occur more often in people who have liver disease or a weakened immune system.
Thorough hand washing after visits to the restroom, before touching food or drink and after changing a diaper are the best way to control the spread of hepatitis A.
For more information on Hepatitis A, see the CDC’s page “Hepatitis A Information for the Public”.
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