A listener from California recently asked: “Is there an outbreak of Hepatitis A in the US?
Yes, there is a national outbreak of Hepatitis A with clusters in multiple states.
Hepatitis is an infection or inflammation of the liver. People with hepatitis A often have vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, and jaundice.
Hepatitis A is one specific type of hepatitis caused by a virus which is highly contagious. This means that it can be spread by contaminated food, person-to-person, or in large centers such as daycares and prisons.
Since 2016, over 15,000 cases of hepatitis A have been documented. Almost half of those patients required hospitalization. At least 150 people died directly as a result of hepatitis A. A large number of these people were homeless or had other chronic health conditions.
The Hepatitis A vaccine is highly effective. It’s given to children at the 1 year check up. It can be safely given to adults if they are exposed to Hepatitis A, have a high-risk lifestyle, are homeless, or traveling overseas.
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