ROANOKE, Va. – The Roanoke Valley is currently experiencing an uncharacteristic rise in hepatitis A cases.
Usually, there are two to five cases a year in the Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts; however, there have been dozens since October and eight in the last month, according to the districts’ director, Dr. Cynthia Morrow.
She said her department doesn’t believe that these cases, most of which have required hospitalization, are linked to the deadly outbreak at Famous Anthony’s last fall.
“Over the last few weeks we continue to see a fairly dramatic increase in Hep A cases, almost all of these cases are identified in individuals that use injection drugs,” said Roanoke-Alleghany Health District Director Dr. Cynthia Morrow.
The health district is working to provide more educational tools and vaccine opportunities to address the outbreak.
The virus is “spread when someone unknowingly ingests the virus — even in microscopic amounts — through close personal contact with an infected person or through eating contaminated food or drink,” according to the CDC.