LOUISIANA —State health leaders are tracking a Hepatitis A outbreak in Louisiana.
They believe the outbreak started in 2018.
The latest numbers show more than 1,200 cases of infection statewide.
As of Sept. 17, Louisiana has 1244 reported cases of the infection related to the outbreak, since January of 2018.
Upwards of 300 of those cases are in the New Orleans Metro area.
The age of the patients range from 5-83 years old and the average age is 37.
Of those numbers, 60% of people have been hospitalized and the outbreak is blamed for four deaths.
There were only eight cases reported in Louisiana in 2017.
Over the past 10 years, an average of nine cases are reported each year.
Hepatitis A is a highly-contagious liver infection.
According to state health officials, this increase in cases is affecting certain risk groups: People reporting drug use, people experiencing homelessness, men who have sex with men, incarcerated or recently incarcerated people and people who have been in close contact of someone infected with Hepatitis A.
Officials say while these infections usually resolve without treatment, illnesses and deaths in the current national outbreaks have been higher than usual due to older age and underlying health conditions.
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