While monitoring COVID, health district turns attention to Hepatitis A and STDs

Published: Apr. 12, 2022 at 5:59 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - The leader of the Roanoke City Alleghany Health Districts reported Tuesday COVID-19 cases remain low. While it continues to monitor the virus, the health district’s attention is also being drawn to other illnesses affecting people in our hometowns.

Dr. Cynthia Morrow used her virtual update Tuesday to address COVID, Hepatitis and Sexually Transmitted Illnesses.

Dr. Morrow said of COVID-19 there were fewer than 60 reported cases in the last week for the health district. She knows this number is underreported, due to home testing, but that by all other metrics the disease activity is still considered low. Additionally, the hospitalization count is at a record low with just one person hospitalized for COVID-19.

As for the Hepatitis A outbreak, Dr. Morrow said they have confirmed more than 46 cases in the first quarter of 2022.

Typically they see just two to five cases in any given year.

It is largely affecting people with substance abuse disorder who inject drugs in the 30 to 49 age range.

“It really is important to get a Hepatitis A vaccine,” she said. “Hepatitis A is a vaccine-preventable disease and it is also preventable by common hand hygiene and making sure we do proper food preparation.”

Dr. Morrow also wanted to talk about the Sexually Transmitted Infections they’re monitoring. It’s STI awareness week.

She wants people to know her district is also seeing what appears to be a rise in infections of these types, noting there’s been a significant increase in syphilis.

“One, we need to talk about it, we need to take away the stigma,” she said. “STIs are infectious diseases, they are overwhelmingly treatable. And most are curable.”

Dr. Morrow wants people to know they can access their clinics for testing and treating for Hep A and STIs.

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