Arizona, along with 18 other states, is currently experiencing an outbreak of hepatitis A. There have been more than 245 cases, mostly among individuals who are experiencing homelessness and/or use drugs. Currently over two-thirds of the cases are in Pima County. The disease has also spread to five other counties. More than 80 percent of individuals in this outbreak have been hospitalized.

These hepatitis A outbreaks were first seen in the United States in 2016, and to date, there have been more than 15,000 cases, 8,500 hospitalizations, and 140 deaths across the country since then. Vaccinating those most at risk for the disease is the most effective way to curb a hepatitis A outbreak, including individuals who use drugs, individuals who are experiencing homelessness or unstable housing, and individuals who may have contact with these groups.

To date, county health departments and healthcare providers in Arizona have administered more than 2,000 hepatitis A vaccines to these affected populations. Public health has continued vaccination outreach efforts for this vulnerable population with several community partners, including:

Emergency departments and urgent care centers;

Drug treatment centers;

Homeless shelters;

Jails, half-way houses;

Faith-based organizations;

Federally Qualified Health Centers;

Mobile clinics.

Health care providers should ensure all their patients at risk are vaccinated for hepatitis A. If you don’t know your vaccination status for hepatitis A, reach out to your health care provider. For more information on where to find hepatitis A vaccine, please visit vaccinefinder.org.

Information provided by Arizona Department of Health Services

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