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On the same day African Swine Fever broke out in South Korea on the 17th, South Korea also announced a Hepatitis A outbreak. I have compiled relevant news and high-risk food groups that you should avoid to avoid getting exposed to Hepatitis A when coming to South Korea.
Korea Hepatitis A Outbreak
At the end of September 6th, the number of confirmed Hepatitis A cases in South Korea exceeded 14,000 people. This is extremely bad news and is the biggest liver infection outbreak in South Korea in recent years.
In the recent 26 cases of Hepatitis A, it has been found the 80% of the patients ate shellfish and got Hepatitis A. It was also found that the Chungcheongdo province had the highest rate of infection in Korea.
Before Chuseok, the South Korean Food and Drug Safety Administration (식품의약품안전처), issues an emergency statement prohibiting the sale of raw salted shellfish and identified 10 sources of shellfish that had the Hepatitis A virus with 9 of them coming from China.
Although the ban is only on raw shellfish, the government's remarks has caused the sale's of shellfish in the market to fall a lot but everyone does not need to worry as the shellfish will no longer have the virus in it when cooked at a high temperature.
The data showed that the number of people infected with Hepatitis A was 8 times the amount from the same time last year showing that the infection this year was dangerous and went out of control causing it to become an outbreak.
I have compiled information on Hepatitis A here. If you have recently visited or are planning to visit Korea, be careful.
- Incubation Period : From Infection to Outbreak, Around 15-50 days (Average 28 - 30 days).
- Symptoms : Fever, Loss of Appetite, Vomiting, Uncomfortable Stomach, Jaundice. The death rate from Hepatitis A is 3 in 1000 and the majority arise from the elderly with chronic acute hepatitis.
- Route of Infection : Consumption of food contaminated with Hepatitis A virus (Korean Shellfish, Marinated Shellfish), Human contact with virus, Blood infection, Sexual contact.
- Immunity to Hepatitis A : The antibody produced after getting Hepatitis A lasted for a life time and make you immune.
Hepatitis A is not a vaccine that is mandatory for everyone so there is a risk for people to get this if they have not had Hepatitis A in the past as they don't have the antibody. Also the Hepatitis A vaccine lasts for around 20 years.
If you or a friend has recently visited Korea and has similar symptoms, make sure they seek medical attention to make sure they don't have Hepatitis A. Although Hepatitis A does not evolve to chronic liver disease it has a chance to change to Acute Hepatitis so be careful.
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