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Wolf announces funding for Hepatitis A vaccines amidst outbreak

Governor Wolf has announced that the state of Pennsylvania will provide $50,000 in funding to purchase vaccines to slow the spread of hepatitis A.

Pennsylvania and neighboring state New Jersey are currently in the midst of a hepatitis A outbreak, which was declared in Pennsylvania in May.

Hepatitis A is a liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus, which is spread person to person after putting something in the mouth that has been contaminated with the feces of a person infected with the virus.

“We must do everything in our power to prevent hepatitis A from further spreading across the commonwealth,” said Governor Tom Wolf. “This funding will help us provide vaccines and outreach to the communities hardest hit by this outbreak.”

Although Philadelphia and Bucks counties are seeing the majority of hepatitis A, cases are continuing to increase throughout much of the state.

From January 2018 until early August of 2019, Pennsylvania has seen 376 outbreak related hepatitis A cases and seven deaths. The case count for 2019 is nearly nine times the number expected based on historical data.

Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said that the best way to prevent the spread of hepatitis A is through vaccination and washing your hands regularly.

Symptoms of Hepatitis A- fever, loss of appetite, stomach pain and jaundice, can be mild and last several weeks. However, more severe infections can last several months and be fatal.

The Department of Health recommends that those who think they may have been exposed to or are infected with the virus, to contact their physician for further testing. While there is no treatment, doctors can monitor and treat symptoms.

Dawn Ouellette Nixon
Dawn Ouellette Nixon is a career journalist who believes that good journalism can change the world. As the health care reporter, she covers everything from small town medicine to big pharma. You can also find her chasing a good business story in Berks County. She can be reached at dnixon@lvb.com or 610-807-9619, extension 4118.

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