Death Suspected from West Virginia Hepatitis A Outbreak

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) – Health officials in West Virginia are reporting the first death in Kanawha County suspected to be related to an outbreak of hepatitis A.

The Kanawha-Charleston Health Department says in a news release that department officials spoke with a relative who confirmed Wednesday’s death. The statement did not disclose the cause of death.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says hepatitis A is a vaccine-preventable, communicable disease of the liver caused by a virus. It is usually transmitted person-to-person or by consuming contaminated food or water. Symptoms include fatigue, low appetite, stomach pain, nausea, and jaundice.

The state Bureau for Public Health reports 106 confirmed or suspected cases of hepatitis A in eight counties.

On Wednesday health officials urged hepatitis A vaccinations for restaurant and food service employees in Kanawha and Putnam counties.