Outbreaks of hepatitis A in multiple states among people who use drugs and/or people experiencing homelessness

Since March 2017, CDCs Division of Viral Hepatitis (DVH) has been assisting several state and local health departments with hepatitis A outbreaks, spread through person to person contact, that have occurred primarily among persons who use injection and non-injection drugs, and/or persons experiencing homelessness, and their close direct contacts.

CDC’s Response:

In response to all hepatitis outbreaks, CDC provides ongoing epidemiology and laboratory support as well as support on vaccine supply and vaccine policy development. When requested, CDC sends “disease detectives” to affected areas to evaluate and assist in an outbreak response.

CDC alerts other public health jurisdictions of any increases in disease. On August 25, 2017, CDC notified all state and local health departments about the investigation of a cluster of hepatitis A, genotype IB infections in people who use injection and non-injection drugs and/or people who are homeless. On June 11, 2018 CDC issued a Health Alert Network (HAN) Advisory to public health departments, healthcare facilities, and public health programs with an update about the outbreaks and guidance to assist in identifying and preventing new infections. All U.S. jurisdictions are encouraged to be watchful for increases in hepatitis A cases and consider submitting recently confirmed hepatitis A virus (HAV) specimens to CDC’s Division of Viral Hepatitis Laboratory. CDC’s Division of Viral Hepatitis Laboratory uses advanced molecular detection to confirm and monitor outbreaks and has tested over 2,500 specimens related to various outbreaks from January 2017 to April 2018. CDC also works with state and local health officials to ensure hepatitis A vaccine is targeted to the correct at-risk populations and that supply is adequate.

Advice to Public Health Officials

For the current U.S. outbreaks among people reporting drug use and/or homelessness and their contacts, CDC has encouraged state and local health departments to:

  • Work with community partners to provide hepatitis A vaccine to people who use injection and non-injection drugs, people who are homeless, and others with established risk factors who are not yet immunized
  • Consider hepatitis A vaccination for anyone with ongoing, close contact with people who use injection and non-injection drugs and/or people who are homeless and their contacts

CDC has provided outbreak-specific considerations for hepatitis A vaccine administration.

Post exposure prophylaxis (PEP) is recommended for unvaccinated people who have been exposed to hepatitis A virus (HAV) in the last 2 weeks; those with evidence of previous vaccination do not require PEP.

PEP consists of:

 

PEP Recommendations:

 

NOTE: CDC recommends that all children be vaccinated against hepatitis A at age 1 year. Parents or caregivers who are unsure if a child has been vaccinated should consult the child’s health-care provider to confirm vaccination status.

Educational Resources

CDC is developing educational materials to support the outbreak at the state and local levels. Most materials include an area where local information can be inserted. Your organization’s contact information can be typed into the blue colored rectangle. To upload your logo, click on the white space below the blue colored rectangle. In the pop-up box, select browse and upload a PDF version of your logo.

Fact Sheets

Pocket Cards

  • Outbreak of hepatitis A Pocket Card Cdc-pdf[PDF – 786 KB] to localize with organization information and outlines who should get vaccinated and the symptoms of hepatitis A
    • Printing Instructions: These cards should be printed double-sided on 4.25” x 5.5” perforated postcard templates that print four double-sided cards per page. The print settings must be set to “Actual size” or “Custom Scale 100%” to ensure accurate alignment of the two sides of the cards.
  • Get Vaccinated Pocket Card Cdc-pdf[PDF – 455 KB] to localize with information where to go to get the vaccine and who should get vaccinated
  • If You’re Sick Pocket Card Cdc-pdf[PDF – 470 KB] to localize with information on where to go for medical care and the symptoms of hepatitis A
    • Pocket Card Printing Instructions: These cards should be printed double-sided on business card templates that print six double-sided cards per page. The print settings must be set to “Actual size” or “Custom Scale 100%” to ensure accurate alignment of the two sides of the cards.

Posters

Posters
Posters for people who use drugs encouraging hepatitis A vaccination
 Poster for people at high risk of infection encouraging hepatitis A vaccination
 Posters for people experiencing homelessness encouraging hepatitis A vaccination
Poster Cdc-pdf[PDF – 4 MB] outlining what Emergency Departments can do to help stop the hepatitis A outbreaks
Posters on how to clean up and disinfect to help prevent spread of hepatitis A virusExternal from Water Quality & Health Council
For Additional Information

If you are a state or local health department with questions about outbreak investigation, management, and/or specimens, please email DVH staff.

If you are a practicing clinician with a concern about a potential case of hepatitis A virus infection, please contact your local or state health department.

For all other inquiries, please contact CDC-INFO at 800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636), TTY: 888-232-6348 or Email CDC-INFO