Hepatitis A on the Rise in Washington State

If you only watched the news, you’d likely believe the only war the medical community is fighting is the COVID-19 virus. You probably haven’t even heard about the Hepatitis A Outbreak in Washington State.

While it is true that hospitals and emergency response units are shouldering the brunt of the battle of COVID-19. Primary Care Providers are holding down the fort when it comes to the ongoing battle against diseases, person-to-person and environmental contagions.

And at Delta Direct Care we know keeping our community healthy on ALL fronts is key to thriving and surviving.

‘Hepatitis A’ Outbreak in Washington State

While it’s not the most sensational headline,there are several counties in WA that are in the midst of a Hepatitis A outbreak. It is exacerbated by closures (no public restrooms for homeless). No infections ever remain isolated in sub-populations… it is only a matter of time before it spreads to the general population.

There are 17 counties in Washington State that have been impacted by hepatitis A since April 1, 2019.

What’s even more challenging is that only 1 in 10 people with hepatitis know they have it.

How do you get Hepatitis?

Several viruses can cause hepatitis, the most important of which are Hepatitis A, B and C.

Hepatitis viruses can be transmitted in different ways. The two most common ways:

  1. Hepatitis A is transmitted where there is poor sanitation and access to clean water.
  2. Hepatitis B and C are transmitted sexually, through drug use and by close household contact with a carrier.

To Test or Not to Test?

The CDC suggests that everyone between the ages of 17 and 79 be screened. While, it would certainly be great to have everyone tested, these guidelines often cost states and taxpayers money, create bottlenecks in test result turn-around-times, and create unnecessary anxiety amid a community. 

Because Delta Direct Care (and other DPC providers) make it their jobs to establish meaningful, informed and long-standing relationships with their patients, the need to screen and test can be reduced. 

Part of a preventive exam is to identify people with risk factors, examine everyone and test selectively. That’s where having an established doctor-patient relationship is key.  (Learn more about Direct Primary Care)

Doesn’t the Current Hepatitis Vaccine Keep us All Safe?

Hepatitis B has been on the recommended vaccination schedule for children since 1991. Most children born after 1980 should have received a hepatitis vaccine in adolescence and all children born after 1989 should have received it as toddlers. But not all. Its strongly advised to familiarize yourself with your chart and know what Vaccines you have received.

We offer vaccines against both Hep A and B separately and combined. As a member of Delta Direct Care you receive these Vaccines at our cost without additional charges for administration. Learn more about all the benefits of a Direct Primary Care Membership

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