Oregon shifts hepatitis A prevention efforts

BEND, Ore. (AP) — Oregon health officials are working to redirect hepatitis A prevention strategies toward homeless populations following a shift in how outbreaks of the disease occur.

The Bulletin reports the Oregon Health Authority has purchased additional hepatitis A vaccines this year, distributing them to county health departments in areas with large homeless populations.

Previously, hepatitis A outbreaks were mostly linked to international travelers or foodborne outbreaks, with infections occurring mainly in children.

National rates of the disease spiked in 2016 and 2017 as outbreaks were found to largely affect adults over the age of 40, particularly those who were homeless.

Oregon has documented 20 cases of the disease through November 2018. Four of the cases last year involved people younger than age 40.