Calming the panic over hepatitis A
LYNDA J. DAVIDSON RN, PHD
LYNN E. GEORGE RN, PHD
MARIA V. KALEVITCH PHD
DENIS P. RUDD FMP, EDD

$7.95
Nursing2014
June 2004 
Volume 34  Number 6
Pages 44 - 47
 
  PDF Version Available!

ABSTRACT
Outline

  • First a trickle, then a flood

  • When mild goes wild

  • Four phases

  • Making a diagnosis

  • Alert the media

  • Is vaccination indicated?

  • Anatomy of an epidemic

  • SELECTED WEB SITES

  • SELECTED REFERENCES



  • Graphics

  • Figure. No caption a...

  • LAST FALL, nearly 700 people contracted hepatitis A virus (HAV) and 3 people died in the largest single-source HAV outbreak on record in the United States. Before the outbreak was traced to contaminated green onions served at a restaurant near Pittsburgh, Pa., more than 9,000 people were inoculated with immunoglobulin.

    What turns a normally mild virus into a potential killer? In this article, we'll review the facts about HAV and share how nurses in our community cared for patients and educated the public during an intense 2-month period.

    First a trickle, then a flood

    Over several days in early November, a local emergency department admitted five patients ill with HAV. Because the virus is transmitted in contaminated food or water, public health authorities suspected a foodborne outbreak. But the source wasn't identified until a nurse reported that her husband and three friends had developed HAV symptoms several weeks after eating together at a local restaurant. The diners in her group who didn't become ill had all been immunized against HAV.

    In the next few weeks, the number of infected persons rose to more than 600, including several restaurant employees. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) eventually traced the source of the outbreak to green onions imported from Mexico.

    When mild goes wild

    Most often transmitted by the oral-fecal route, HAV is a common cause of food poisoning. Usually mild and self-limited, HAV rarely ...

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