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Hepatitis A Outbreak

Since January 1, 2017, Utah public health has identified 193 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 02/12/18

Outbreak-Associated Cases   176      
2017   146      
2018     30      
Onset Date Range   05/08/2017 - 02/01/2018   Incidence Rate per
100,00 Person-Years

 
Age Range   22 - 90 years    median age 38 years     5.17
           
Sex          
Male   115 73.4%    
Female     61 41.0%    
Health Jurisdictions         Incidence Rate per
100,000 Person-Years
Salt Lake County   121 68.8%     9.68
Utah County     39 22.2%     5.91
Bear River       5   2.8%     2.52
Southwest Utah       3   1.7%     1.18
Davis County       1   0.6%      0.26
Central Utah       2   1.1%     2.28
Tooele       2   1.1%     2.77
Weber-Morgan       2   1.1%     0.69
Wasatch       1   0.6%     2.94
           
Hospitalizations     86 52.1%    
           
Deaths       0   0.0%    
           
Risk Factors          
Homelessness and Drug Use     72 49.3%    
Drug Use     37 25.3%    
Homelessness     19 13.0%    
Epi-Linked     27 18.5%    
Travel       4   2.7%    
Unknown     13   8.9%    
           
Incarcerated     33 22.6%    
           
Co-infection          
Hepatitis B (HBV)     13   8.9%    
Hepatitis C (HCV)     33 22.6%    
HBV & HCV     10   6.8%    

 

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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