Hepatitis A outbreaks reported in neighboring states
SPRINGFIELD – In an effort to prevent hepatitis A outbreaks in Illinois, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is working with almost two dozen local health departments1 around the state to make hepatitis A vaccine more readily available. States across the country, including states bordering Illinois, have been seeing hepatitis A outbreaks. IDPH is not currently reporting any hepatitis A outbreaks.
“Hepatitis A is an infection that can damage the liver, and is passed easily from one person to another through food, water, drug use, and sex,” said IDPH Director Nirav D. Shah, M.D., J.D. “To help prevent people in Illinois from getting hepatitis A, the Illinois Department of Public Health has requested large numbers of hepatitis A vaccines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That vaccine is being delivered to numerous local health departments across Illinois and be available for free or a reduced cost for people at the greatest risk of becoming infected.”
According to the CDC, from January 2017 to April 2018, there have been more than 2,500 reports of hepatitis A infections from multiple states. Of the more than 1,900 reports for which risk factors are known, more than 1,300 (68%) people infected reported drug use (injection and non-injection), homelessness, or both.
Men who have sex with men, people who use drugs, and people who do not have a home should check with their health department about a free or reduced cost hepatitis A vaccine. Local health departments participating in the targeted hepatitis A vaccination effort are in the process of receiving vaccine. For more information about hepatitis A, go to the IDPH website or to https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/HAV/index.htm