The Alabama Department of Public Health is currently researching a growing outbreak of hepatitis A in DeKalb and Jackson counties.
Cherokee and Marshall counties have also been affected by potentially linked outbreaks.
“Hepatitis A vaccination and proper hand washing will significantly reduce the spread of this virus in these counties and are important measures to protect the community,” said Medical Officer Dr. Karen Landers.
The outbreaks may be linked to contact with other hepatitis A cases through infected food handlers at restaurants, drug paraphernalia or unvaccinated individuals who fail to wash their hands, among many other situations.
The latest known symptom onset was on March 3.
There are currently 22 cases in Jackson County, 12 cases in DeKalb County and one in Marshall County.
After being exposed to someone with hepatitis A, symptoms may present in the next 15 to 50 days. Symptoms may include fever, headache, fatigue, low appetite, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, dark urine or jaundice.
The Alabama Department of Public Health recommends that all individuals get the hepatitis A vaccination, which offers full protection in the event of exposure.