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Hepatitis A in the USA (California)

20 Sep 2017

Hepatitis A virus continues to spread in California, with a new outbreak declared in Los Angeles. This outbreak remains small, involving 10 people, although a continuing outbreak in San Diego has involved nearly 450 people, of whom at least 16 have died. The San Diego outbreak has spread to Santa Cruz, where there are 69 cases.

At this stage, homeless people in California have been most affected as the virus is spread in poor sanitary conditions.

Recommendations for Travellers

Hepatitis A is spread by the faecal-oral route and most travellers to the affected areas of California will be at low risk of infection.   

Prevention is focused on food and water precautions and practising meticulous hand and personal hygiene to reduce the risk of hepatitis A infection. Detailed risk management advice can be found via following links:

Vaccination is recommended if you are visiting areas where drinking water may be unsafe and where hygiene and sanitation is poor. Men who have sex with men are at higher risk of hepatitis A infection. There are various brands of hepatitis A vaccine available: Avaxim, Havrix Monodose, Havrix Junior Monodose and Vaqta Paediatric.

Hepatitis A vaccine is also available in a preparation that combines it with hepatitis B vaccine: Ambirix, Twinrix and Twinrix Paediatric and a preparation that combines it with typhoid vaccine: Hepatyrix and ViATIM.

For further information see Hepatitis A.