Vermont declares hepatitis A outbreak

Vermont has declared a statewide outbreak of hepatitis A, joining 30 other states.

The outbreak is in the early stages, with 12 cases having been reported last year. Of the 12 cases, over half were hospitalized.

But the number of cases is a significant jump compared to the state's previous five-year average of three cases per year.

"We've been anticipating an outbreak of hepatitis A cases here from monitoring how this has evolved in other states," said Mark Levine, MD, the state's health commissioner.

Since outbreaks were first identified in 2016, there have been 30,003 cases, 18,271 hospitalizations and 304 deaths in 30 states, as of Jan. 10. Kentucky has reported the highest number of cases with 4,993, followed by Florida and Ohio.

Hepatitis A is a liver infection that is generally spread by person-to-person contact. It cause liver failure and, potentially, death.

The Vermont health department is urging people to get vaccinated.

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