May 19, 2005
The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) is advising anyone who ate ice cream at a May Day event in the Spur city park last Saturday that they may have been exposed to hepatitis A and should consider getting an immune globulin shot to prevent the viral illness.
DSHS officials said one member of a group serving the homemade ice cream later was diagnosed with hepatitis A infection.
Spur is in Dickens County. Several cases of hepatitis A have been confirmed in the county in recent weeks.
Immune globulin can provide temporary immunity to hepatitis A and is most effective if given within two weeks of exposure.
DSHS will provide free immune globulin shots from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday, May 23 and 24. On Monday, the shots will be given in the Spur Elementary School Cafetorium, 800 N. Williams. On Tuesday, the shots will be given in the cafetorium from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and in the Spur High School Gym, 800 N. Calvert, from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Those who have had hepatitis A, received immune globulin for hepatitis A in the past three months or received the hepatitis A vaccine do not need the immune globulin shot. Anyone who has been exposed to someone with hepatitis A in the past two weeks should consider getting the shot.
People may call the DSHS office in Lubbock, 806-767-0483, or their physicians to determine if they need the immune globulin shot or for more information.
Hepatitis A symptoms, which normally last a week or two, include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting and abdominal discomfort. Jaundice, a yellowing of the skin and eyes, may occur a few days after symptoms appear. Young children with hepatitis A often have no symptoms. Anyone with symptoms of hepatitis A infection should contact a physician.
The illness is usually spread person-to-person through a fecal-oral transmission route. It may occur when a person eats food or drinks a beverage contaminated by someone with the virus. The incubation period, or time between exposure and the development of symptoms, is about 30 days but can be as short as 15 days and as long as 50 days.
Health officials say thorough hand washing after visits to the restroom, before touching food or drink and after changing a diaper is the best way to control the spread of hepatitis A.
(News media: for more information contact Diane McDonald, DSHS Region 1 Epidemiology Response Team, Lubbock, at 806-767-0483; or Doug McBride, DSHS Press Officer, Austin, 512-458-7524.)