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    Posted: November 21 2017 at 4:53am

Utah: The 3rd hepatitis A outbreak

November 19, 2017

While so much attention has been on the hepatitis A outbreaks in California and Michigan, for good reason, not much attention has been given to the third largest outbreak in the United States—Utah.

Image/ National Atlas of the United StatesImage/ National Atlas of the United States

California, particularly the San Diego area and southeast Michigan, including Detroit have accounted for more than 1100 cases, 800 hospitalizations and 40 deaths.

Out west in the Beehive State, since January 1, 2017, Utah public health has identified 84 confirmed cases of hepatitis A virus (HAV) infection (75 outbreak-associated cases); many among persons who are homeless and/or using illicit drugs. About three-quarter of the cases have been reported in Salt Lake County and more than half required hospitalization.

“Our greatest concern with the outbreak is that it will leap into another population, or into the general population, and the outbreak will grow exponentially,” said Nicholas Rupp, a spokesman for the Salt Lake County Health Department.

The high rate of hospitalization may be a result of cases having underlying illnesses (e.g., alcoholism), or a higher rate of hepatitis comorbidities (e.g., hepatitis B or C). No deaths have been reported in Utah.

Several cases have been linked by investigation and/or viral sequencing to a national outbreak of hepatitis A involving cases in California and Arizona.


Absence of proof is not proof of absence.
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