In June, the Southern Nevada Health District announced Clark County was experiencing an outbreak of hepatitis A cases. At that time, 37 cases had been reported. The Health District is now reporting that there have been 83 cases reported so far this year.
In the past few years total cases reported have been significantly lower: 39 cases reported in 2018; 13 cases in 2017; and six reported cases in 2016.
People who are at increased risk for infection include people who use drugs and those experiencing homelessness. Of the reported cases, more than 92 percent were people who used drugs (injection or non-injection), and more than 80 percent were among people experiencing homelessness.
Other risk factors for infection of hepatitis A include:
- Men who have sex with men.
- People with chronic liver disease.
- People who have an occupational risk for infection.
- People traveling to or working in countries where hepatitis A is common.
- People with direct contact with people who have hepatitis A.
- People with clotting-factor disorders.
- People who are currently or were recently incarcerated.
Hepatitis A is commonly spread from person-to-person through the fecal-oral route. Symptoms include jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, and light-colored stools.
Hepatitis A vaccination is the best prevention against the virus. Since the outbreak announcement, the Health District has administered 995 hepatitis A vaccinations to adults ages 18 and older. A total of 1,785 hepatitis A vaccinations have been administered to adults by all providers in Clark County.
Practicing good hygiene can also help prevent the transmission of hepatitis A. Wash hands thoroughly after using the bathroom, changing diapers, and before preparing or eating food. More information on hepatitis A is available on the Health District website. For up to date information on the nationwide Hepatitis A outbreak visit the CDC website.
Since March 2017, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has assisted multiple states and local health authorities in their responses to hepatitis A outbreaks. As of August 9, 2019, 29 states have reported 23,978 cases of the virus, resulting in 14,330 hospitalizations, and 236 deaths.
The Health District is responding to this current outbreak in Clark County using information from recent cases to identify and notify hospitals that have treated an increased number of hepatitis cases; identifying further locations to target vaccinations; continuing its outreach and immunization efforts with its partners; and working with its health care partners to share information and recommendations about the outbreak.