$50K in Pa. state funding to go towards vaccines, outreach amid hepatitis A outbreak

A microscopic image of the Hepatitis A virus, taken by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Pennsylvania will provide funds aimed at slowing the spread of hepatitis A, the Department of Health said in a news release.

$50,000 in state funding for vaccines and outreach will go towards trying to combat the disease.

Hepatitis A is a liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus.

Pennsylvania declared a hepatitis A outbreak in May. From January 2018 until early August 2019, Pennsylvania has seen 376 outbreak related hepatitis A cases, with 82 percent of patients hospitalized and seven deaths, the Department of Health said.

The case count for 2019 is nearly nine times the number expected based on historical data.

The Department is looking into federal funding streams which could go towards buying additional vaccines and proving more outreach.

Residents can also take further steps to prevent hepatitis A by washing their hands regularly, including after using the bathroom, changing a diaper and before preparing or eating food.

Symptoms can be mild and last several weeks. More severe infections can last several months or can be fatal. Many people infected do not experience any symptoms. Symptoms can include fever, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, stomach pain and jaundice.

If you have symptoms, get plenty of rest, eat healthy foods, drink a lot of water, stay away from alcohol, and talk with your doctor before taking any medications, including over-the-counter drugs.