The Hawai‘i State Department of Health (DOH) is investigating a cluster of at least 12 cases of hepatitis A infection in adults on Oahu; six have required hospitalization. Onsets of illness have ranged from June 16 through June 27, 2016.
“Healthcare providers have been informed and asked to notify us immediately if they have a patient they suspect may be infected,” Hawaii State Epidemiology Sarah Park noted in a statement about the investigation. “Treatment for hepatitis A infection is supportive only, and while most people will recover without complications, we are encouraging everyone to review their immunization record and talk to their healthcare provider about vaccination.”
Hepatitis A vaccine is being made available at local pharmacies. Two doses of hepatitis A vaccine, given at least six (6) months apart, are needed for lasting protection.
While vaccination provides the best protection, frequent handwashing with soap and warm water after using the bathroom, changing a diaper, or before preparing food can help prevent the spread of hepatitis A, health officials said. Appropriately cooking foods can also help prevent infection.
Additional information about hepatitis A can be found on the Hawaii DOH website at http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/dib/disease/hepatitis-a/.