CDC Analysis- Lessons from Multi-State Hepatitis A Outbreaks
Earlier this month, San Diego health officials declared an end to the two-year long hepatitis A outbreak in the city that had killed 20 and sickened nearly 600 individuals, largely among people experiencing homelessness. At the same time, there was news of a growing hepatitis A outbreak in Tennessee also concentrated among people who are homelessness and people who inject drugs, with 440 cases statewide and 142 cases confirmed in Nashville since December 2017. An ongoing outbreak in Kentucky claimed two more lives in Franklin County this month, and there are at least nine additional states reporting hepatitis A outbreaks.
Responding to these ongoing outbreaks and taking steps to prevent new ones remain public health concerns at the local, state, and national levels. As health departments and their partners in jurisdictions across the nation take steps to prevent and/or respond to them, CDC recently published an analysis of hepatitis A virus outbreaks in four states. The main finding of the outbreak analysis is that a substantial proportion of the individuals diagnosed with hepatitis A in those jurisdictions reported drug use, homelessness, or both. The article discusses additional public health steps taken to during the outbreaks.
Published in the November 2 issue of CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), the analysis concludes that increasing hepatitis A vaccination coverage among all at-risk groups recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) to receive hepatitis A vaccine might halt ongoing outbreaks and prevent future large community outbreaks. CDC recommends that local health jurisdictions experiencing hepatitis A outbreaks among people who report drug use or homelessness ensure procedures are in place for identifying these risk factors and vaccinating people with these risk factors to prevent hepatitis A infection.
CDC: Increasing vaccination among groups at risk for hepatitis A infection might halt ongoing outbreaks and prevent future outbreaks. https://go.usa.gov/xEqJg