Santa Cruz Hepatitis A, 2017
The Public Health Division in the County of Santa Cruz has been investigating an increased number of Hepatitis A cases. Since April 2017, the County has 76 confirmed cases. They usually have 1-2 confirmed cases per year. The investigation is ongoing and challenging because of the long incubation period of the disease (15 to 50 days) and the difficulty experienced to contact many individuals sickened with the illness who are homeless and/or illicit drug users. To date, no common source of food, beverage, or other cause has been identified; as a result, the source of the outbreak remains undetermined.
HEPATITIS A CAN BE PREVENTED WITH A SAFE AND EFFECTIVE VACCINE.
Vaccination efforts are being implemented in targeted locations by County staff and in collaboration with health care partners.
Contact Public Health Department Communicable Disease Unit at (831) 454-4114. Locations of vaccination efforts will be updated shortly.
Clinicians should promptly report confirmed and suspect cases of HAV to Santa Cruz County Public Health / Communicable Disease Unit (CDU) via fax to (831) 454-5049 using the Confidential Morbidity Report (CMR).
- Copies of pertinent laboratory testing results and clinical notes should be included.
- Collection of contact information and travel history is of utmost importance.
What is Hepatitis A?
Hepatitis A is a liver infection caused by the Hepatitis A virus (HAV). HAV is highly contagious. It can cause liver disease, lasting a few weeks to a serious illness lasting months. In some cases, people can die. Hepatitis A can be prevented with a safe and effective vaccine.
Take CDC’s Hepatitis Risk Assessment and get a personalized report in 5 minutes.
How is it transmitted?
HAV is usually transmitted by:
- Touching objects or eating food that someone with HAV infection handled.
- Having sex with someone who has a HAV infection.
- By the fecal-oral route. When a person ingests food or water that has been contaminated with even a tiny or microscopic amount of feces from an infected person.
What are the symptoms?
HAV does not always cause symptoms. Some people get HAV and have no symptoms of the diseases. Adults are more likely to have symptoms than children.
Symptoms include fever, fatigue, nausea, loss of appetite, yellowing of the eyes (jaundice), stomach pain, vomiting, dark urine, pale stools, and diarrhea.
Who is at increased risk for getting HAV infection?
- Travelers to countries with high or medium rates of HAV.
- Users of injection and non-injection illegal drugs.
- Men who have sex with men.
- Persons with clotting factor disorders.
How can HAV be prevented?
- Wash your hands frequently, especially after using the bathroom or changing diapers.
- Don’t have sex with someone who has HAV infection.
- Use your own towels, toothbrushes, and eating utensils.
- Don’t share food, drinks, or smokes with other people.
- Hepatitis A can be prevented with a safe and effective vaccine - Providers who do not have available vaccine should contact County Public Health at the number below for further guidance.
Where can I get vaccinated?
Please contact your local healthcare provider to request the HAV vaccine.
Hepatitis A Vaccination Clinics
- County Communicable Disease Unit: (831) 454-4114
- California AIDS, STD and Hepatitis Hotline: (800) 367-AIDS (2437) (24 hours/day, 7 days/week)
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Information Hotline: (800) CDC-INFO (232-4636) (24 hours/day, 7 days/week)
Resources for Posting in Santa Cruz Businesses/Organizations
If you have questions or information regarding possible cases please call the Public Health Department Communicable Disease Unit at (831) 454-4114.