Illinois health officials encourage vaccinations to protect against hepatitis A

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Wednesday, December 5, 2018

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WLS) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health is encouraging those at greatest risk of contracting hepatitis A to get vaccinated after five cases were confirmed in east-central Illinois during November.

The department hopes the recent cases will serve as a reminder to the public that states bordering Illinois have been seeing hepatitis A outbreaks.

Those at highest risk for infection include men who have sex with men, homeless people and drug users. The department says those people should check with their local health department about free or reduced-cost vaccine.

In a press release, the IDPH said it is working with with 37 local health departments around the state to make the hepatitis A vaccine more readily available. IDPH has requested a large number of vaccines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That vaccine is being delivered to numerous local health departments across Illinois to be available to the at-risk population, according to the department.

Hepatitis A is an infection that can damage the liver. It is spread easily through food, water, drug use, and sex. Symptoms include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, joint pain, jaundice, dark urine, and clay-colored bowel movements.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.