BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Over 300 cases of Hepatitis A have been confirmed in the state of Louisiana since January, according to the latest count from the state’s department of health.
In a non-outbreak year, LDH reports an average of 5 to 15 cases of the virus. There have been 21 new cases of Hepatitis A in the last seven days.
LDH says 59% of those affected have been hospitalized.
Hepatitis A is preventable with a vaccine, which provides 95% coverage for at least ten years. Most children born after 2006 were vaccinated soon after birth.
Drug users, prisoners, homeless people, and men who have sex with other men are especially susceptible. LDH says it’s “aggressively targeting” at-risk populations by coordinating vaccination dates with homeless shelters and rehab facilities.
The virus is primarily transmitted through close contact with others. It lives in fecal matter that can be accidentally ingested through contact with the face.
LDH has not identified any restaurants or commercial food sources that have a hepatitis A problem, but disease investigators are coordinating with each patient to cross-reference data.