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That nearly 70 people in Illinois are sick with hepatitis A isn't out of the ordinary, but state health officials are worried about what's happening in neighboring states.
The Illinois Department of Public Health says the state sees about that many cases each year. But Kentucky, Indiana, and Michigan are seeing an outbreak of hundreds of cases each.
IDPH Director Nirav Shah said with that in mind, and with five recently confirmed cases, the state is asking people to get a hepatitis A shot.
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"What we really want to emphasize, is that anyone who is in any of the risk factors – someone who is using drugs, someone who has sex with other men, or someone who is homeless – we strongly urge them to get vaccinated for the virus," Shah said.
Shah said hepatitis A can easily be passed from person to person through sex or needles, but also if someone who is sick with the virus handles food or drinks.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that since January 2017, more than 2,500 people across the country have been confirmed as sick with hepatitis A.
Hepatitis A is an infection that can damage the liver. Symptoms include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, clay-colored bowel movements, joint pain and jaundice. Hepatitis A infection can be prevented with a vaccine.