Hepatitis A on rise in part of southwest Virginia

High number of cases in surrounding states may be to blame

MARION, Va. – Health officials in part of southwest Virginia are working to contain an outbreak of hepatitis A.

As of Tuesday, there have been 23 confirmed cases in the Mount Rogers Health District so far in 2019.

That's more than any other part of the commonwealth.

The health district includes Wythe, Bland, Carroll and Grayson counties and the city of Galax.

Hepatitis A is a liver disease that can cause fatigue, stomach pain, low appetite, nausea and jaundice.

It is most commonly spread by consuming contaminated food or drinks.

Mount Rogers Health District population health manager Breanne Forbes Hubbard said a high number of cases in surrounding states may be to blame for the outbreak in the health district.

"We're working up all cases of hepatitis A, which includes establishing contacts for those who have been infected and determining who, of those contacts, are at greatest risk and encouraging the vaccine," Hubbard said.

You can help prevent the spread of hepatitis A through proper handwashing and getting vaccinated.