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MARION COUNTY, Ind. — The number of Marion County residents with hepatitis A is on the rise.

Marion County usually has two to four confirmed cases of hepatitis A each year.

This year, the Marion Co. Public Health Department has confirmed 57 cases of hepatitis A. The number of new infections has increased in recent weeks, county health officials said.

Since declaring a statewide hepatitis A outbreak in Nov. 2017, the Indiana State Department of Health has confirmed more than 770 cases of hepatitis A. Two of those infections were fatal, according to ISDH.

Hepatitis A is a viral infection of the liver. It’s often spread when someone consumes food or drinks prepared by someone who is infected. It can also be transmitted through personal contact with a sick person, including sex contact.

Symptoms may take 15 and 50 days to appear and include abdominal pain or discomfort; clay-colored bowel movements; dark urine; fatigue; joint pain; loss of appetite and jaundice. 

The best way to avoid hepatitis A is by washing hands after using the bathroom, changing diapers, and before preparing or eating food. 

Anyone who comes into contact with an infected person can get a hepatitis A vaccine within two weeks of exposure. The vaccine is available at pharmacies, doctor’s offices, and the offices of the Marion Co. Public Health Dept.

(Photo by Zerbor/Thinkstock.)