TUCSON – A surge of Hepatitis A has been hitting Tucson and the rest of southern Arizona, health officials say.
With more than 150 confirmed cases since November in Pima County alone, Pima County Health Department has implemented several exposure control and prevention measures throughout the area.
According to officials, the liver infection can be prevented through receiving a vaccine. Despite the vaccine routinely given to children, many adults have not been vaccinated for Hepatitis A, resulting in 173 confirmed cases of the viral disease since November and 161 related cases to this recent outbreak.
Health department officials say there have been 121 people have been hospitalized for Hepatitis A.
To help stop the outbreak in Pima County, the health department has set up 106 vaccination clinics across the county as of April 19.
They said through this, they have encountered 3,468 people with outbreak risk factors. Of those, 1,712 people received the vaccine. Officials say 1,159 people declined the vaccine and 597 were previously immunized.
Health officials say people who are most at risk are:
- People who are experiencing homelessness
- People who use injection and non-injection illicit drugs
- People who are traveling to countries where Hepatitis A is common
- Men who have sex with men
- People who have been recently incarcerated
- People who live with, or have sex with, someone who has Hepatitis A
- People with chronic liver disease, such as cirrhosis, alcoholic liver disease, Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C