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Published On: Sat, Apr 27th, 2013

Hepatitis A case reported at San Diego County Psychiatric Hospital, warn of exposure risk

Employees, patients and visitors who were at the San Diego County Psychiatric Hospital between April 5 and April 25 are being notified they were potentially exposed to hepatitis A after an individual at the hospital was diagnosed with the viral disease, according to a San Diego County news release Friday.

Hepatitis A Image/CDC

Hepatitis A
Image/CDC

“The risk is low, but anyone who was at the psychiatric hospital who was notified about the exposure should be aware of the signs and symptoms of Hepatitis A,” said Eric McDonald, M.D., M.P.H., County Deputy Public Health Officer. “Anyone who has been immunized with Hepatitis A vaccine or previously had the disease is considered protected from the virus.

“We encourage anyone who has not had the vaccine and who may have been exposed to contact us or their health care provider to discuss options for prevention.”

The county reports that hepatitis A vaccine is being offered to potentially exposed staff. Vaccinations for discharged hospital patients and visitors will be offered at Public Health Services Clinic Complex in Suite S (next door to the hospital) at 3851 Rosecrans Street, San Diego. Shots will be available on a walk-in basis from April 26 through May 7. The clinic hours are: Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays, 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.; Wednesdays 11:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.; and Thursdays 10:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m..  Potentially exposed individuals may also obtain Hepatitis A immunizations through their primary care physicians.

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 a health 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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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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