BATON ROUGE–The statewide outbreak of Hepatitis A continues to grow.
According to the Louisiana Department of Health, more than 302 cases have been reported in the state since December. One person, according to LDH’s website, has died as a result of the virus.
The illness is highly contagious and can be transmitted through close contact, by sharing needles, or by sharing non-intravenous drugs. Symptoms include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, clay-colored bowel movements, joint pain and jaundice.
The virus is already here in Acadiana. According to LDH, Lafayette, St. Landry, Acadia, Vermilion, Iberia, St. Mary, Allen, and Calcasieu Parishes have all reported at least one case. Livingston Parish has been the hardest hit by Hepatitis A, with that parish reporting between 76 and 90 cases. By comparison, between 1999 and 2017, Louisiana averaged nine Hepatitis A cases per year, with a high of 14 in 2013.
Doctors and other experts urge people to get vaccinated and to maintain good hygiene to avoid getting infected with Hepatitis A.