The ongoing (and building) measles outbreak is getting most of the headlines, but simultaneous to that hepatitis A cases have continued to mount well into the thousands. Since the first confirmed case in 2016, more than 15,000 infections have occurred across the country; some 8,500 have required hospitalization. Florida has been hit especially hard, with 883 cases reported so far this year. That’s more than the total for all of 2017 and 2018 combined. Virginia has seen a 132% increase over existing cases since the first of the year. The state health commissioner there is urging Virginians to get immunized, and to educate themselves on symptoms of hepatitis A infection (fatigue, sudden nausea and vomiting, abdominal discomfort and low appetite, clay-colored stool, dark urine, joint pain, and low-grade fever). The need is especially great among high-risk individuals, such as those who have been incarcerated recently, are or were recently homeless, and illicit drug users, along with men who have sex with men. Urgent care staff would also be well advised to get vaccinated against hep A. To ensure you’re up to speed on current recommendations regarding hepatitis A, consult the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s page Hepatitis A Vaccination: Information for Health Care Providers.
Be Alert for Hep A Cases, Especially in Certain States