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article imageWith 168 cases of Hepatitis A, Hawaii no closer to finding source

By Karen Graham     Aug 11, 2016 in Health
In one week's time, the number of cases of Hepatitis A in Hawaii has jumped from 135 to 168 confirmed cases, and the source of the disease still remains elusive.
The latest update from the Hawaii Department of Health (HDOH) confirms the case count in the ongoing Hepatitis A outbreak has risen to 168 confirmed cases, an increase of 33 cases in one week. A total of 43 victims required hospitalization, up from 39 victims last week.
“Findings of the investigation suggest that the source of the outbreak is focused on Oahu. Eight individuals now live on the islands of Hawaii, Kauai, and Maui, and one visitor has returned to the mainland,” the department stated.
The onset of the illnesses ranged from June 12 to August 1. The source of the disease is still a challenge, owing to the long incubation period for the viral disease, coupled with the difficulty patients have in accurately remembering what they consumed and the locations they visited.
According to the HDOH's Disease Outbreak Control Division, all the cases have been in adults. Two more food service workers are among the new cases this week. To date, nine food service employees have been confirmed as having Hepatitis A. Officials caution that this does not mean the establishment where they were employed is the source of the outbreak.
Health care providers have been urged to report any suspected cases of the disease to health officials immediately, and numerous pharmacy vaccination sites have been made available for those people wishing to be vaccinated.
Hepatitis A is usually spread by eating contaminated food or drinking water, and can be spread through close personal or sexual contact. Persons living in the same household as an infected family member can get the disease, according to a Digital Journal story last week.
More about Hawaii, hepatitis A outbreak, CDC, 43 hospitalized, source unknown
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