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Hepatitis A in Mississippi: Outbreak Information

 
This page has been automatically translated from English. MSDH has not reviewed this translation and is not responsible for any inaccuracies.

The Mississippi State Department of Health is investigating an outbreak of hepatitis A virus infections in Mississippi. Since April 2019, there has been marked and sustained transmission of hepatitis A in the state. This recent sharp increase follows a national trend of hepatitis A spread, as well as recent increases in neighboring states.

The outbreak in Mississippi is mainly affecting certain high-risk groups:

  • People reporting drug use (IV and non-IV drugs)
  • People who are currently or were recently in jail or prison
  • People with unstable housing, or who are homeless
  • Men who have sex with men
  • People who have been in close contact with someone infected with hepatitis A

The Mississippi State Department of health strongly recommends that people in these high-risk groups be vaccinated against hepatitis A.

Mississippi snapshot as of November 14, 2019

Outbreak Cases

82

Since April 1, 2019

% Hospitalized

66%

Deaths

0

Case Statistics
  • Age range: 2–82 years of age (median age: 36 years)
  • Male: 53 (65%); Female: 29 (35%)
  • Recreational drug use: 57 (70%)
  • Men who have sex with men (MSM): 2 (4%)
  • Homeless: 16 (20%)
  • Incarcerated/Recently Incarcerated: 9 (11%)

 

What Is Hepatitis A?

Hepatitis A is a viral disease of the liver transmitted by close personal contact, including sexual contact, or consumption of food or water contaminated by an infected person. Hepatitis A causes fatigue, low appetite, stomach pain, nausea and jaundice for up to two months of infection. Vaccination is the best protection against hepatitis A infection.

How is Hepatitis A Spread?

Hepatitis A infection spreads from an infected person to other by personal contact or contact with objects or food they handle:

  • Ingestion of the virus through close personal contact with an infected person, such caring for someone who has hepatitis A or living in the same household as someone who is infected
  • Consuming food or drink that is contaminated with feces of an infected person
  • Handling objects or sharing objects that are contaminated with the feces of an infected person

Hepatitis A Prevention

Vaccination is the best way to prevent hepatitis A virus infection. Hepatitis A vaccination is strongly recommended for persons at higher risk in the current outbreak:

  • People reporting drug use (IV and non-IV drugs)
  • People who are currently or were recently in jail or prison
  • People with unstable housing or homeless
  • Men who have sex with men
  • People who have been in close contact with someone infected with hepatitis A

In addition, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) also recommends routine hepatitis A vaccination for the following people:

  • All children at age 1 year
  • Travelers to countries where hepatitis A is common
  • People with direct contact with others who have hepatitis A
  • Family and caregivers of adoptees from countries where hepatitis A is common
  • People with chronic or long-term liver disease, including hepatitis B or hepatitis C
  • People with clotting-factor disorders
  • Any person wishing to be protected against hepatitis A

Getting Vaccinated

Hepatitis A vaccine can be obtained through your healthcare provider or pharmacist. If you are uninsured or underinsured, vaccination is available through any county health department.

More Information

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Last reviewed on Jul 30, 2019
Mississippi State Department of Health 570 East Woodrow Wilson Dr Jackson, MS 39216 866-HLTHY4U Contact and information

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