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The County Board of Supervisors extended the local public health emergency for hepatitis A again on Tuesday, but efforts are now underway to transition out of the emergency amid declining case numbers.

Public Health officials told the board that they were assuring all new processes and procedures were being put in place to end the emergency declaration that was declared in September.

The board is required to review the need for continuing the emergency every 14 days.

Six new cases were reported in the last two weeks, bringing the total number of cases in the outbreak to 577, resulting in 396 hospitalizations and 20 deaths.

From May to September, 2017 there were an average of 84 cases reported each month. In November, that number dropped to 21 and in December declined further to seven cases.

Hepatitis A is most commonly spread from person to person through the fecal-oral route. Symptoms of hepatitis A include jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, and light-colored stools.  Symptoms usually appear over a number of days and last less than two months.  However, some people can be ill for as long as six months. Hepatitis A can sometimes cause liver failure and even death.

For general information on hepatitis A, visit the HHSA hepatitis website where data are updated routinely. A hepatitis A fact sheet is also available.

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