Hepatitis A is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis A virus, which infects humans via fecal-oral transmission. In Oregon, hepatitis A can occur in situations ranging from isolated cases of disease to widespread outbreaks. Good personal hygiene and proper sanitation can help prevent hepatitis A. Vaccines are recommended for long-term prevention of hepatitis A in all Oregon children 2 years of age and older, as well as for adults in high-risk groups. Immune globulin is available for short-term prevention of hepatitis A in individuals of all ages.In 2003, Oregon's 62 cases represented an historic low. Although the number of cases among Oregonians is at a record low, most cases currently reported are acquired by venturing outside of Oregon to areas having poor practices relating to personal hygiene and environmental sanitation. Such persons placing themselves at elevated risk should seriously consider getting a hepatitis A vaccination at least two months prior to departure.
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