Salt Lake City, Utah (ABC4 News) – Southeast hepatitis A in Utah is officially over, according to Utah officials.
They say the outbreak, which infected 281 people and killed three, lasted about two years.
No new cases have been reported over the past 100 days, which is two incubation cycles for hepatitis A, according to Brie Burbo, an UDOH health epidemiologist at the Utah Health Department.
She added that the outbreak began on 8 May 2017, and the latest report was on October 26, 2018.
"Most of the cases associated with the Utah epidemic occur in people living on the Wasatch front and reporting illegal use of substances and / or experiencing homelessness," Barbough said.
Authorities say they expect to receive more reports of a hepatitis A-related epidemic. However, their focus will be on monitoring and preventive activities that will include vaccinating high-risk populations.
UDOH officials say they recognize the efforts of private and municipal partners, federal, state and local government partners who have helped control the large hepatitis A epidemic.
They encourage partners to continue to provide hepatitis A vaccination for homeless and other high-risk groups. This includes people who use illegal substances and men who have sex with men.
According to UDOH, hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease resulting from an infection with the hepatitis A virus. Signs and symptoms usually occur two to six weeks after exposure and may include:
- Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes)
- Nausea and vomiting
- Abdominal pain or discomfort, especially in the area of the liver on your right side under the lower ribs
- Chairs with clay
- Loss of appetite
- Low temperature
They say the symptoms may range from mild illness to severe illness lasting several months. People usually get hepatitis A by having close contact with someone who is infected from food or drink prepared by someone who is infected or eating shellfish collected from sewage-polluted water.
Sexual contact with an infected person can also pose a risk of infection. The hepatitis A vaccine is available through health care providers, local public health clinics and pharmacies.
More information about the outbreak is available at UDOH website.