Minor outbreaks of Hepatitis-A are being reported in two of Iowa’s largest metro areas, prompting state health officials to issue, not a warning, but an awareness alert. Dr. Patricia Quinlisk is the state epidemiologist. Dr. Quinlisk says there are more outbreaks than usual this time of year.Dr. Quinlisk says the outbreaks are in the Des Moines and Mason City areas. In Polk County, where the capitol city is located, 28 cases of Hepatitis-A were reported since October. The county usually only sees ten to 12 cases in a full year, so this new report has Quinlisk a bit worried. Quinlisk says simply good hygiene will help avoid more outbreaks.Polk County had a Hepatitis-A epidemic in recent years that saw 226 cases in 1997 and 246 cases in 1998. By comparison, only 11 cases were reported in the county in 1996. The Mason City area has had five Hep-A cases since December first. That area would normally only see one case in a full year.
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