Maryland health officials confirmed a case of hepatitis A has been reported in Harford County but say it is not linked to other cases in the state.
Hepatitis is inflammation of the liver caused by a viral infection, and the A virus is spread when people eat contaminated food or touch their face when the virus is on their hand. Unlike cases of the more common hepatitis C, hepatitis A infections normally resolve on their own and effects are not typically serious or chronic, though the family of the infected Bel Air man said he has been hospitalized.
Symptoms of the virus include fatigue, nausea, abdominal pain and low-grade fever. It usually clears up on its own in one or two months.
A vaccine for hepatitis A is not required of schoolchildren in Maryland, but the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends it for anyone age 1 or older, at increased risk for infection or complication or who wants protection. Frequent hand washing is recommended to prevent infections from viruses generally.
There have been 18 hepatitis A cases reported statewide so far in 2019 and there were 52 cases in 2018, according to state health data.