HARRISBURG (KDKA) — Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Health, Dr. Rachel Levine has announced that the state has declared a hepatitis A outbreak with 171 cases in 36 counties.

According to the map provided by the Department of Health, Allegheny and Philadelphia counties are hit the hardest with anywhere between 31-50 cases.

Hepatitis A Map of Counts by County

“The counties hit hardest by this outbreak are Philadelphia and Allegheny, but we have seen an increase of cases throughout much of the state,” Dr. Levine said. “We are taking this action now to be proactive in our response to treating Pennsylvanians suffering from this illnesses and prevent it from spreading. The best way to prevent hepatitis A is through vaccination.”

Hepatitis A is a liver infection, caused by the virus and it spreads from person-to-person after someone puts something in their mouth that has been contaminated with the fecal matter of a person infected with the virus.

People at risk for contracting the virus are:

  • A person that has encountered a person with hepatitis A
  • People who use intravenous drugs
  • Homeless
  • Men that have sex with other men
  • Symptoms are mild and can last several weeks. More severe infections could last several months and many people infected do not experience any symptoms.

    However, symptoms may include fever, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain and jaundice.

    The Pennsylvania Department of Health recommends anyone that may have been exposed to the virus contact their physician for further testing. There is no treatment for the virus, but a doctor can monitor and manage symptoms.