Hepatitis A Outbreak in NH
The Department of Health and Human Services has announced there has been a significant increase in the number of people in New Hampshire diagnosed with hepatitis A. Since November 2018, 130 people have been diagnosed with hepatitis A , compared to an average of 6-7 in recent years. Although the majority of the cases diagnosed are in the southern tier of the state, the Winnipesaukee Public Health Region, (Belknap County, Franklin, Northfield, Danbury, Hill and Moultonborough), is seeing an uptick in diagnosed cases within the region. There has been 1 associated death in Merrimack County.
The virus that causes hepatitis A is contagious and anyone can get it, however, people at the highest risk of contracting the virus are:
- people with direct contact with someone with hepatitis A
- people using injection, and non-injection drugs, including marijuana
- people experiencing homelessness or unstable housing (e.g, “couch surfing”)
- gay and bisexual men
- people with on going, close contact with high risk individuals
Hepatitis A causes inflammation of the liver; severe infections and can result in liver failure and even death. Symptoms include fever , tiredness, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, clay colored bowel movements, joint pain, and jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes). There is no specific treatment for hepatitis A.
Hepatitis A is preventable with a safe and effective vaccine, which is vital to stopping this outbreak. People at high risk for infection should talk with their health care provider about getting vaccinated.
The Winnipesaukee Public Health Region is currently offering FREE hepatitis A vaccine for those people at high risk, identified above. Hepatitis A clinics are ongoing and held throughout the public health region, No appointment is necessary. Walk-ins are welcome. Currently scheduled clinics are as follows:
- July 10th Isaiah 61 Cafe 100 New Salem Street Laconia NH 10:30am – 11:30 am.
- July 23rd Northfield-Tilton Congregational Church 283 Mains St Tilton 10:00am – 12:00pm
- July 30th Salvation Army 177 Union Ave. Laconia NH 11:00 am – 1:00 pm
- August 7th Isaiah 61 Cafe 100 New Salem Street Laconia NH 10:30am – 11:30 am.
- August 29th Salvation Army 177 Union Ave. Laconia NH 11:00 am – 1:00 pm
- September 4th Isaiah 61 Cafe 100 New Salem Street Laconia NH 10:30am – 11:30 am.
For additional information on hepatitis A virus visit the following sites:
For clinic information please contact: Partnership for Public Health 528-2145 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org