Hepatitis A is a vaccine-preventable, communicable disease of the liver caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV). It is usually transmitted person-to-person through the fecal-oral route or consumption of contaminated food or water. Hepatitis A is a self-limited disease that does not result in chronic infection. Most adults with hepatitis A have symptoms, including fatigue, low appetite, stomach pain, nausea, and jaundice, that usually resolve within 2 months of infection; most children less than 6 years of age do not have symptoms or have an unrecognized infection. Antibodies produced in response to hepatitis A infection last for life and protect against reinfection. The best way to prevent hepatitis A infection is to get vaccinated.
Outbreak in Utah - During the Christmas holiday, there was an outbreak reported is a couple of establishments serving food. This caused quite a scare, and many people ran to get vaccinations and to see their doctor. The Utah Department of Health put the following on their website:
Since January 1, 2017, Utah public health has identified 172 confirmed cases of hepatitis A virus (HAV) infection; many among persons who are homeless and/or using illicit drugs. Several cases have been linked by investigation and/or viral sequencing to a national outbreak of hepatitis A involving cases in California and Arizona. Hospitalization rates of less than 40% have been described in previous hepatitis A outbreaks; however, other jurisdictions associated with this outbreak are reporting case hospitalization rates approaching 70%. The high rate of hospitalization may be a result of cases having underlying illnesses (e.g., alcoholism), or a higher rate of hepatitis comorbidities (e.g., hepatitis B or C). In response to the outbreak, public health officials have been working to identify cases and contacts, provide education, and ensure opportunities for vaccination of close contacts to cases and vulnerable populations.
Hepatitis A is usually spread through having oral contact with items contaminated with hepatitis A, for example, through ingesting food or drinks contaminated by infected feces. Some people do not develop symptoms, even if infected. If symptoms occur, they usually appear anywhere from 2-6 weeks after exposure. Symptoms usually develop over a period of several days, and may include jaundice (the yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes), abdominal pain, nausea or diarrhea. Hepatitis A vaccination is the best way to prevent hepatitis A infection. Last updated 1/22/18
If you have concerns about this outbreak and would like to speak to someone, you can call:
Uinta County Public Health Evanston 307-789-9203 or Bridger Valley 307-787-3800
To contact the Utah Bureau of Epidemiology, please call or e-mail us Monday - Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Mtn. Standard Time.
- Phone: 801-538-6191
- Fax: 801-538-9923
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- 24-hour on-call: Utah Department of Health Media Line: 801-209-2591