Hepatitis A outbreak - clinics and info
New Outbreak of Hepatitis A in People Experiencing Homelessness in El Paso County
Numerous large hepatitis A outbreaks are occurring around the U.S. that are impacting people experiencing homelessness or using street drugs, and men who have sex with men. Public health agencies are requesting assistance from organizations that serve people experiencing homelessness and people who use street drugs to control the spread of hepatitis A.
Since Oct. 24, 2018, El Paso County has had four reported cases of hepatitis A in adults, whom are experiencing homelessness and/or report street drug use. None of the cases reported traveling outside of the county during their exposure period so spread of disease is likely occurring locally. Since June 2017, six cases of hepatitis A infection have been reported in Colorado in people experiencing homelessness, including the recent El Paso County cases.
Hepatitis A is transmitted when a person ingests feces of an infected person, through contaminated food or drinks, sexual contact with an infected person, poor hand hygiene, or environments contaminated with feces. Symptoms include acute fever, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, and jaundice, the yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes, which results from liver inflammation. People with hepatitis A are contagious from two weeks before the onset of symptoms to a week after jaundice begins. A vaccine is available and is administered in two doses 6-12 months apart though even a single dose is often enough to provide protection.
Your organization can help prevent the spread of hepatitis A
- Vaccinate! Hepatitis A vaccine is extremely effective in preventing disease. TCHD is seeking assistance from organizations that have capacity to vaccinate their clients to step up efforts to facilitate hepatitis A vaccination. You can work with partner organizations, including public health agencies, to make hepatitis A vaccine readily available to people experiencing homelessness, people using street drugs, or for men who have sex with men, who are unvaccinated or do not know their vaccination status. This includes vaccinating in Emergency Departments or Urgent Care Centers that serve these at-risk groups. For organizations located in Adams, Arapahoe, or Douglas Counties, contact TCHD at 303-220-9200 if you have questions about vaccination, or contact your local public health agency or CDPHE at 303-692-2700.
- Refer clients with symptoms of hepatitis A for medical evaluation and hepatitis A testing.
- People with symptoms of hepatitis A should avoid having oral, vaginal, or anal sexual contact or preparing food for others until seven days after the onset of jaundice.
- Report any suspect case of hepatitis A to public health within one working day to ensure disease control measures are put into place.
TCHD is hosting two free vaccination clinics in November for people experiencing homelessness or using street drugs
- Monday, November 26,9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Aurora Day Resource Center, 13387 E. 19th Place, Aurora, CO 80111
- Tuesday, November 27, 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Giving Heart Englewood, 4358 S. Broadway, Englewood, CO 80113
Free hepatitis A vaccine is also available at local public health agencies for people experiencing homelessness, people using street drugs, or un- or underinsured people. Information about TCHD’s Immunization Program is available at www.tchd.org/356/Immunizations
Click here for more information on the Hepatitis A resources and to download posters and flyers. You can also order pre-printed materials from Tri-County Health Department (TCHD) or your local public health agency.