Since 2017, multiple states have been engaged in outbreak responses as a result of increased cases of Hepatitis A. In a June 2018 Health Alert Advisory, the Centers for Disease Control stated that of the more than 1,900 reports for which risk factors are known, more than 1,300 (68%) of the infected persons report drug use (injection and non-injection), homelessness, or both. Vaccination remains a cornerstone for controlling outbreaks in communities. However, the circumstances that affected populations face, such as transience, economic instability, and limited access to health care pose challenges to mounting a successful vaccination campaign and public health response.
To address these issues, NACCHO and ASTHO hosted a town hall session, “Not Your Everyday Activation: Mobilizing Emergency Response in Hepatitis A Outbreaks,” at the 2019 Preparedness Summit. During the session, panelists discussed what it takes to manage a sustained response to a hepatitis A outbreak, how to leverage community partnerships to support operations, and strategies for reaching populations in need.