>> For more on this story, Watch News Center 7 at 11 HERE
The deaths of two Clark County people are related to Hepatitis A, according to the Clark County Combined Health District.
The health district said the cases have been thoroughly investigated and appropriate actions taken, but in order to protect the privacy of the families, additional details about the cases are not being released.
“The heartbreaking loss of these lives illustrates the seriousness of this outbreak, and we urge Clark County residents to practice good hand washing and to get vaccinated, especially if they fall into a high-risk population,” said Charles Patterson, Clark County Health Commissioner. “We are working with our local and state partners to slow the spread of hepatitis A, but this disease is highly contagious and can spread rapidly, so prevention is critical.”
Hep A is highly contagious and is spread by ingesting even a tiny amount of fecal matter.
RELATED COVERAGE: Hep. A cases in Clark County spreading like wildfire
The health district has been working with the most at risk groups — such as the homeless, illicit drug users, those in jail and men who have sex with men, but the disease is spreading to those outside of those groups.
Before 2018, Clark County didn’t have a confirmed case of the disease since 2011. A week ago, the health district was reporting 43 confirmed cases with a new case emerging almost every day.
Health officials said Hep A is absolutely preventable, but people need to take proper precautions. Vaccination is the best way to fight off the disease, and the vaccination series is covered by most insurance plans.
Outside of vaccination, the health district highly encourages frequent hand washing or hand sanitizer use.
Thank you for reading the Springfield News-Sun and for supporting local journalism. Subscribers: log in for access to exclusive deals and newsletters.
Thank you for supporting in-depth local journalism with your subscription to the Springfield News-Sun. Get more news when you want it with email newsletters just for subscribers. Sign up here.