Update on Hepatitis A Outbreak in LA County
Los Angeles County Public Health recently released a health report including an update about the current Hepatitis A outbreak in LA County.
The key points of report were:
- An increased number of cases of hepatitis A virus (HAV) is occurring among men who have sex with men (MSM) in Los Angeles County in 2017 compared with 2016.
- This increase is occurring in the context of an outbreak of hepatitis A in LA County among persons who are homeless or use illicit (injection and non-injection) drugs.
- All MSM should be offered HAV vaccination. Vaccination is the best method for preventing HAV infection.
- The combined HAV/hepatitis B (HBV) vaccine (Twinrix), should be used for MSM as supplies of the single antigen HAV vaccines (Havrix and Vaqta) are constrained.
Providers are encouraged to:
- Attend the live LAC DPH webinar on HAV with Q&A occurring on Wednesday, November 8 at 12 pm. Free CME is available. Register here to participate. The webinar will be recorded for those who cannot make it.
- Vaccinate individuals at increased risk for HAV or its consequences
- Including MSM, persons who are homeless and/or who use illicit drugs, and those with chronic liver disease or HIV infection.
- Consider pre-screening for hepatitis A immunity in patients who can be expected to follow-up for vaccination.
- Due to current vaccine constraints, providers may consider offering testing for anti-hepatitis A virus IgG to patients lacking documentation of vaccination as they may already be immune. If there are any concerns about follow-up, the patient should be vaccinated without delaying for antibody testing.
- Vaccinate MSM patients against other pathogens currently causing outbreaks in LA County.