The hepatitis A outbreak in Hawaii we first reported on July 1 has grown to 135, an increase of 42 in the past week, according to data from the Hawaii Department of Health (HDOH).

Of the new cases, all were in adults and the vast majority, 39, required hospitalization for their illness.

Hawaii/Perry-Castañeda Library
Hawaii/Perry-Castañeda Library

While the outbreak up to now has been centered on Oahu, today the HDOH said seven individuals now live on the islands of Hawaii, Kauai, and Maui, and one visitor has returned to the mainland.

Health officials continue the investigation into the source of the outbreak.

Hepatitis A is a contagious liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV).  The disease can range from a mild illness lasting 1 or 2 weeks to a severe illness lasting for several months.  HAV is found in the stool of people with hepatitis A infection and is usually spread by eating contaminated food or drinking water and can be spread through close personal/sexual contact.  A person who has hepatitis A can easily pass the disease to others within the same household.

Unvaccinated contacts of cases should talk to their healthcare providers about the possibility of receiving hepatitis A vaccine or immune globulin (IG), which may provide some protection against the disease if administered within the first two weeks after exposure.