By Mandy Coriston
An employee at Camp Somers on the Allamuchy Scout Reservation tested positive for Hepatitis A earlier this month, prompting the Sussex County Division of Health to issue an alert to all those who attended or worked at the camp from June 23 to Aug. 7, particularly those who were at the Health Lodge the week of Aug. 4.
According to the division’s director Jim McDonald, those who were at the camp during those times should monitor themselves for symptoms of the virus, which affects the liver.
“Those who were at the Health Lodge during that week of Aug. 4 should see a health care provider to get vaccinated,” McDonald said, “And everyone who might have been exposed needs to be on the lookout for symptoms.”
The Hepatitis A virus can be prevented with prior vaccination, and those who have been exposed can mitigate the effects by getting the vaccine within the virus’s 15-50 day incubation period. Symptoms of the illness include fever, fatigue, darkening of the urine, jaundice, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach pain. There is no specific treatment for the virus except to allow it to run its course. The alert to Camp Somers campers, counselors, staff, and chaperones comes on the heels of an outbreak in Morris County, where an infected food handler at the Mendham Golf & Tennis Club caused nearly two dozen people to become sickened by the virus.
The virus is found in the blood and stool of an infected person, and can be spread through improper hand washing techniques and exposure to bodily fluids. Hepatitis A is an acute liver infection and once recovered the patient does not become a carrier. More information on the transmission, diagnosis, and prevention of Hepatitis A can be found at https://nj.gov/health/cd/documents/faq/hepatitis_a_faq.pdf . Anyone with questions or concerns about the alert can contact the Sussex County Division of Health at -973-579-0370.