BECKLEY, W.Va. (AP/KDKA) – Health officials say a West Virginia county reported a five-fold increase in hepatitis A cases within two months.
The Register-Herald reports hepatitis A cases in Raleigh County rose from 19 at the end of September to 100 at the end of November.
Statewide, there are 1,963 confirmed cases, with the majority in Kanawha and Cabell counties – 763 and 256 cases, respectively. Raleigh and Fayette counties are reporting the fifth and seventh highest totals as of Friday.
The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources says of the confirmed cases, 74 percent of those infected report illicit drug use.
So far this year, Ohio has logged more than 900 cases of hepatitis A, and there have been 81 cases in Pennsylvania, which is an 80 percent increase over the past five years. Allegheny County has had at least eight cases reported within the past month.
Health officials are urging people to get vaccinated against the hepatitis A virus.
Infection can range from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe illness lasting several months.
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