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Hepatitis A Outbreak

Since January 1, 2017, Utah public health has identified 112 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 12/11/17

Outbreak-Associated Cases   102      
Onset Date Range   5/8/2017 - 12/06/2017    
Age Range   22 - 69 years    median age 38 years    
Male   63 61.8%    
Female   39 38.2%    
Health Jurisdictions          
Salt Lake County   72 70.6%    
Utah County   21 20.6%    
Bear River     5   4.9%    
Southwest Utah     2   2.0%    
Central Utah     1   1.0%    
Weber-Morgan     1   1.0%    
Hospitalizations   56 56.6%    
Deaths     0   0.0%    
Risk Factors          
Homelessness and Drug Use   51 50.0%    
Drug Use   19 18.6%    
Homelessness     8   7.8%    
Epi-Linked   14 13.7%    
Travel     3   2.9%    
Unknown     6   5.9%    
Incarcerated   21 20.6%    
Hepatitis B (HBV)   12 11.8%    
Hepatitis C (HCV)   25 24.5%    
HBV & HCV     9   8.8%    



Utah Department of Health
Bureau of Epidemiology
Fax: 801-538-9913
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)

Regular Business Hours:

Monday - Friday
8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

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