Pennsylvania declares hepatitis A outbreak

Local

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Pennsylvania has declared an outbreak of hepatitis A after seeing an increase of the infection over the last 16 months.

There have been 171 hepatitis A cases in 36 counties since January 2018. There have been more than 60 in 2019 alone, which is more than double the amount there was at this point last year.

Pennsylvania’s neighboring states of Ohio and West Virginia have also seen an increase, with more than 2,000 hepatitis A cases since January 2018.

By declaring an outbreak, Pennsylvania is eligible for federal funds to purchase additional vaccine if necessary.

“The most important message I can convey is that hepatitis A is a vaccine-preventable illness,” Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said. “By declaring an outbreak today, we also can tap into federal funding to purchase more vaccine if it is needed.

People most at risk of contracting hepatitis A are those who have encountered a person who has hepatitis A, people who use injected illicit drugs, people who are homeless, and men who have male sexual partners.

The Department of Health has more information, including an interactive map with vaccine clinics, at health.pa.gov.

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