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Hepatitis A Outbreak

Since January 1, 2017, Utah public health has identified 238 confirmed cases of hepatitis A virus (HAV) infection; many among persons who are homeless and/or using illicit drugs. Several cases have been linked by investigation and/or viral sequencing to a national outbreak of hepatitis A involving cases in California and Arizona. Hospitalization rates of less than 40% have been described in previous hepatitis A outbreaks; however, other jurisdictions associated with this outbreak are reporting case hospitalization rates approaching 70%. The high rate of hospitalization may be a result of cases having underlying illnesses (e.g., alcoholism), or a higher rate of hepatitis comorbidities (e.g., hepatitis B or C). In response to the outbreak, public health officials have been working to identify cases and contacts, provide education, and ensure opportunities for vaccination of close contacts to cases and vulnerable populations.

Hepatitis A is usually spread through having oral contact with items contaminated with hepatitis A, for example, through ingesting food or drinks contaminated by infected feces. Some people do not develop symptoms, even if infected. If symptoms occur, they usually appear anywhere from 2-6 weeks after exposure. Symptoms usually develop over a period of several days, and may include jaundice (the yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes), abdominal pain, nausea or diarrhea. Hepatitis A vaccination is the best way to prevent hepatitis A infection. For more information on hepatitis A, click here.

Last updated 04/16/18

Outbreak-Associated Cases   221      
2017   148      
2018     73      
 
Deaths
Deaths associated with the hepatitis A outbreak are determined and reported by the Local Health
Department with jurisdiction over the case. The following Local Health Departments have reported
deaths associated with hepatitis A. Click on the name of the Local Health Department to be
re-directed to their website.
Salt Lake County Health Department
Onset Date Range   05/08/2017 - 04/06/2018   Incidence Rate per
100,00 Person-Years

 
Age Range   22 - 90 years    median age 39 years                 7.2
           
Sex          
Male   143 64.7%    
Female     78 35.3%    
Health Jurisdictions         Incidence Rate per
100,000 Person-Years
Salt Lake County   154 69.7%               13.7
Utah County     45 20.4%                 7.6
Bear River       5   2.3%                 2.8
Southeast Utah       2   0.9%                 5.0
Southwest Utah       3   1.4%                 1.3
Davis County       1   0.5%                  0.3
Central Utah       4   1.8%                 5.1
Tooele       2   0.9%                 3.1
Summit       1   0.5%                 2.5
Weber-Morgan       3   1.4%                 1.2
Wasatch       1   0.5%                 3.3
           
Hospitalizations   115 52.0%    
           
Risk Factors          
Homelessness and Drug Use     87 39.4%    
Drug Use     49 22.2%    
Homelessness     24 10.9%    
Epi-Linked     35 15.8%    
Travel       4   1.8%    
Unknown     21   9.5%    
           
Incarcerated     34 23.0%    
           
Co-infection          
Hepatitis B (HBV)     14   9.5%    
Hepatitis C (HCV)     42 28.4%    
HBV & HCV     11   7.4%    

 

Contact

Utah Department of Health
Bureau of Epidemiology
801-538-6191
Fax: 801-538-9913
Email: epi@utah.gov
288 North 1460 West
PO Box 142104
Salt Lake City, Utah 84114-2104

24-Hour Urgent Event & Disease Reporting

1-888-EPI-UTAH (374-8824)
 

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