Officials monitor hepatitis A cases as outbreaks spread to more states
Health officials have been monitoring the national upward trend of hepatitis A cases that are occurring in almost every state across the United States.
Most recently, Florida and the city of Philadelphia have declared public health emergencies due to hepatis A outbreaks. An outbreak was also declared in Minnesota and more are expected to be announced, according to experts.
Individuals who are not vaccinated are at risk of becoming infected with the liver disease, which is highly contagious and is spread from person to person from feces or consumption of contaminated food or water.
Hepatitis A thrives in unsanitary conditions and is spread mostly among drug users and the homeless.
While the hepatitis A vaccine is highly effective, unfortunately, many individuals remain unvaccinated.
According to CDC, the following groups are at the highest risk for acquiring hepatitis A or developing serious complications during outbreaks and should be offered the vaccine:
- People who use drugs (injection or non-injection)
- People experiencing unstable housing or homelessness
- Men who have sex with men (MSM)
- People who are currently or were recently incarcerated
- People with chronic liver disease, including cirrhosis, hepatitis B, or hepatitis C
More can be found on CDC’s website.