By NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

Vermont state health officials have declared a hepatitis A outbreak, becoming the 31st state to do so since 2016.

Image/CDC (cropped)

Health Commissioner Mark Levine, MD said the outbreak here is in the early stages, but that case number trends have prompted the department to make the formal declaration.

“We’ve been anticipating an outbreak of hepatitis A cases here from monitoring how this has evolved in other states,” said Dr. Levine. “We are working closely with health care providers to ensure that Vermonters are vaccinated, and with our community partners to get the word out to people who are at high risk of infection, some of whom can be difficult to reach.”

In 2019, Vermont had 12 cases of acute hepatitis A virus (HAV) infection, compared with the previous 5-year average of 3 cases per year. Of the 12 cases, 58% were hospitalized. Many Vermont counties have reported cases, with most in the southern part of the state.

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Nationally, since the outbreaks were first identified in 2016, 30,003 cases have been reported, including 304 deaths.