Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Hepatitis A Infections Soar in U.S.

Be careful out there, you need your liver.

From U.S. News and World Report:
Homelessness and the nation’s drug crisis are helping fuel the disease’s resurgence.
Hepatitis A cases have surged by nearly 300% in recent years in the U.S., according to a new analysis from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In the past, hepatitis A outbreaks occurred every 10 to 15 years, the CDC report says, and were linked primarily to children who showed no symptoms. Hepatitis A vaccines became available for people 2 and older close to 25 years ago, helping to substantially curb transmission of the highly contagious, potentially deadly liver disease, which can be spread through contaminated food or close person-to-person contact with an infected person.
In recent years, however, drug use in America has contributed to a resurgence of the virus among "susceptible, unvaccinated adults," the report says.

While 18 states saw fewer cases of hepatitis A in 2016-2018 than in 2013-2015, nine states and the District of Columbia saw an increase of approximately 500%, according to the report. The CDC confirmed hepatitis A in 3,877 tested samples in 2016-2018.
"Although hepatitis A is preventable through vaccination, multiple states have had outbreaks since 2016, with unprecedented large numbers of cases and person-to-person spread," a note accompanying the report says, highlighting that May marks Hepatitis Awareness Month and May 19 is Hepatitis Testing Day. The increase in cases has largely occurred among drug users and people experiencing homelessness, it says....MORE