TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - The Vigo County Health Department has issued a warning.
Indiana is one of several states experiencing a Hepatitis A outbreak.
- Hepatitis A: Sometimes called "infectious hepatitis," hepatitis A is spread by eating food or drinking water contaminated with human waste. Hepatitis A is rarely life-threatening.
- Hepatitis B: Also called "serum hepatitis," hepatitis B spreads from mother to child at birth or soon after, and also through sexual contact, contaminated blood transfusions, and needles. Hepatitis B may scar the liver (cirrhosis) and lead to liver cancer.
- Hepatitis C: Formerly known as "non-A, non-B hepatitis," hepatitis C is the most common form of viral hepatitis. While it can be transmitted through contaminated blood transfusions and/or needles, for a substantial number of patients, the cause is unknown. It may scar the liver. Hepatitis C infection is common in about 25 percent of people who are HIV-positive. Hepatitis C also infects up to 90 percent of HIV-infected injection drug users. And it is more severe in patients with HIV.
- Hepatitis D: This form most often infects intravenous (IV) drug users who are also carriers of the hepatitis B virus. It is spread only in the presence of the hepatitis B virus and is transmitted in the same ways. Hepatitis D is a serious health problem because it occurs in those with hepatitis B, increasing the severity of symptoms associated with hepatitis B.
- Hepatitis E: Similar to hepatitis A, hepatitis E is prevalent in countries with poor sanitation. It is rare in North America and rarely life-threatening.
Source: National Institute of Health
Hep A is usually spread from person to person by eating or drinking after someone who is already contaminated with the virus.
Health officials are urging anyone who may have come in close contact with someone that Hepatitis A to get vaccinated.
Experts say those who face a higher risk for Hepatitis A include gay men, people that use drugs by needles, those that have been or are now homeless, and the incarcerated.