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Chubbuck hepatitis exposure prompts vaccination clinic

By By Chris Cole
Published On: May 04 2013 07:31:18 PM CDT

There are dangers to avoiding the needle

CHUBBUCK, ID -

There was a very low turnout Saturday at a free vaccination clinic, set up for people for might have been exposed to hepatitis A at Papa Murphy's in Chubbuck.

Chris Cole was there to learn about the dangers of avoiding the needle.

Southeastern Idaho Public Health says an employee at the Papa Murphy's in Chubbuck has been confirmed with hepatitis A.

The exposure may have happened on April 20 and 21.

Health officials say customers need to be aware of any feelings of nausea, fever or yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes.

"The degree to which people get sick from hepatitis A can vary somewhat,” said Southeastern Idaho Public Health District Director Maggie Mann, “depending on the person's age, overall health status, that sort of thing."

The vaccine is given in the muscle of the upper arm and is given in two doses, six months apart, for the best protection.

I decided to describe the vaccination experience firsthand by actually getting the vaccine myself. While I wasn't at Papa Murphy's and I don't like needles very much, I would rather be safe than sorry.

If you don't get the vaccination and you have hepatitis A, you can be sick for up to two months.

Health officials say they take these cases very seriously.

"If people are vaccinated in the community, we could hit a 90 percent vaccination rate,” said Mann. “Then the need to have this kind of response and this kind of worry in the community drops dramatically."

They also say the best way to avoid any type of virus is to wash your hands.

One of the best ways is to wash your hands in a specific way. Once you've finished washing your hands, grab a paper towel and use that to turn off the water.

Otherwise, any germs that were on your hands before you washed end up right back on your hands.

While hepatitis A stays in your system for a short period, hepatitis B or C can stay in your system forever.

"Hepatitis C typically causes lifelong infection,” stated Mann. “Hepatitis B in many cases does. Hepatitis A does not. That infection resolves and is done."

Southeastern Idaho Public Health responds to all situations as soon as they receive notice from a medical professional, especially if the person works in fast food.

A main point Public Health also made was in regards to how hepatitis A is spread - by fecal to oral contact, a direct result of failing to wash your hands.

If you may be affected, but were unable to attend this free vaccination clinic, please call the hotline at (208) 234-5888. 

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