Hepatitis A vaccine now recommended for all children ages 2-18

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – With cases of hepatitis A on the rise across the country, Missouri and other states are experiencing outbreaks.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services says the best way to prevent infection is to receive the two-dose hepatitis A vaccine.

The first dose provides 95 percent protection for up to 11 years for healthy adults.

The CDC recommends all children between the ages of 2 and 18 get vaccinated.

The CDC’s Vaccines for Children program can provide free vaccination for children 18 or younger who meet the following criteria: Medicaid eligible, do not have health insurance, are American Indian or Alaskan Native, or are underinsured.

Hepatitis A is a viral infection of the liver. It usually spreads when a person ingests the virus from objects, food or drinks contaminated by undetected amounts of stool from an infected person. The state health department says the disease spreads through person to person contact mostly among people who use illegal drugs.

Health departments across Missouri received more than 400 reported cases in 35 counties since September 2017. Franklin County has 69 reported cases that include three incidents at Franklin County restaurants just this summer.

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