When hearing about hepatitis A, many people think about contaminated food and water. However, in the United States, hepatitis A is more commonly spread from person to person. Since March 2017, CDC’s Division of Viral Hepatitis (DVH) has been assisting multiple state and local health departments with hepatitis A outbreaks, spread through person-to-person contact.
CDC has provided outbreak-specific considerations for hepatitis A vaccine administration and has updated its overall recommendations on the prevention of hepatitis A virus infection in the United States.
The risk for person-to-person transmission of HAV continues during the COVID-19 pandemic. The hepatitis A vaccine is the best way to prevent HAV infection. People at risk for acquiring HAV infection or developing serious complications from HAV infection during the current hepatitis A outbreaks should be prioritized to receive the hepatitis A vaccine as soon as it is possible to do so safely.
In response to all hepatitis outbreaks, CDC provides ongoing epidemiology and laboratory support as well as support on vaccine supply and vaccine policy development. When requested, CDC sends “disease detectives” to affected areas to evaluate and assist in an outbreak response. CDC alerts other public health jurisdictions of any increases in disease. All jurisdictions are encouraged to be watchful for increases in hepatitis A cases. CDC also works with state and local health officials to ensure hepatitis A vaccine is targeted to the correct at-risk populations and that supply is adequate.