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VDH reports increase in Hepatitis A cases

Nationally, there have been more than 15000 cases and 8,500 hospitalizations since the outbreaks were first identified in 2016.

In Virginia, there has been a 132-percent increase in cases of the virus since January of this year, with 45 reported cases as of April 22.

Hepatitis A causes inflammation of the liver, resulting in jaundice or yellowing of the skin and eyes.

Other symptoms of the virus include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, joint pain, dark urine and clay-colored stool.

Symptoms typical develop 15 to 50 days after exposure to the virus, which means people who have symptoms should stay home, especially if they work in food service, health care or child care.

"The increase in HAV cases in Virginia indicates that the Commonwealth is now experiencing the effects of this nationwide outbreak," said State health Commissioner M. Normal Oliver, MD, MA. "We want everyone to know how the infection is spread, be able to recognize the symptoms, and take actions to prevent the spread of hepatitis A."