In this episode of Healthy Cleveland, TV20 host Leah Haslage sat down with Dr. Natalie Hinchcliffe, Medical Director for the Cleveland Department of Public Health to discuss Hepatitis A.
Hepatitis is a family of liver diseases, with A through E being a different strain. Today, we focused specifically on Hepatitis A, which has seen a recent uptick in reported cases in Ohio.
Hepatitis A has two stages of symptoms. Early symptoms include: nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, fever, and a general feeling of unwellness. As the virus progresses, new symptoms will arise including: light colored stool, dark colored urine, and jaundiced (yellowing) skin; however these symptoms can vary between those with Hepatitis A.
Hepatitis A is spread through “fecal oral” contamination. Past cases of Hepatitis A outbreaks have been linked to improper sanitary conditions in food service, however the virus is generally spread through “intimate partners” such as housemates, sex partners, and drug users.
Currently, certain groups are considered more at risk for infection, and should greatly consider vaccination. These groups include: street drug users, the homeless, individuals with insecure housing, and homosexual men.
Thankfully, the City of Cleveland offers a number of free vaccinations, including the Hepatitis A vaccination, for high risk individuals at their two health clinics. The J. Glen Smith Center, located at 11100 St. Clair Avenue (#216-249-4100) and the Thomas F. McCafferty Center, located at 4242 Lorain Avenue (#216-651-5005)
As a final note, Dr. Hinchcliffe wanted to remind everyone the importance of washing your hands, especially if you are preparing food or handling a child.
If you’re interested in learning more about the Hepatitis A virus or the programs in place for those who have contracted it, you can visit both the Ohio Department of Public Health’s website at ODH.Ohio.gov or the City of Cleveland Department of Public Health’s website at ClevelandHealth.org (#216-664-2324)
A special thank you to the Cleveland Hearing and Speech Center and Jordan Brian for providing ASL translation for this episode of Healthy Cleveland.