The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) declared a statewide community outbreak in December 2018 after observing an increase in person-to-person transmitted hepatitis A cases. As of September 18, 2019, IDPH is reporting a hepatitis A outbreak comprised of 157 confirmed cases that are not associated with international travel and are not foodborne related. Several of these cases are among individuals at high risk for infection--including men who have sex with men (MSM), persons experiencing homelessness, persons who use drugs and/or persons who are currently or were recently incarcerated. The statewide community outbreak is spread through person-to-person contact. Updates will be provided weekly on Wednesday afternoons.
|Illinois Hepatitis A Outbreak Cases
as of September 18, 2019*
|Number of Cases||157|
|Onset Date Range||09/04/2018 - 09/03/2019|
* As sequencing results become available, cases may be excluded if they do not meet the outbreak case definition.
**Men that have sexual contact with other men
|Confirmed Cases Meeting the Illinois Hepatitis A Person-to-Person Outbreak Case Definition|
|County||Number of Cases*|
In May 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provided an updated case definition resulting in an increase in the number of outbreak cases in Illinois. IDPH and local health departments continue to investigate reported hepatitis A cases.
The high-risk populations for hepatitis A in this outbreak include:
- People who use drugs (injection or non-injection)
- People experiencing unstable housing or homelessness
- People who are currently or were recently incarcerated
- Men who have sex with men (MSM)
- People with chronic liver disease, including cirrhosis, hepatitis B, or hepatitis C
To protect Illinois' residents, IDPH, in partnership with local health departments, is offering FREE hepatitis A vaccines to those individuals most at risk — including men who have sex with men (MSM), persons experiencing homelessness, persons who use drugs and/or persons who are currently or were recently incarcerated. People who believe that they are at high risk for hepatitis A infection should contact their health care provider or local health department for information about vaccination. People who know that they have been exposed to someone with hepatitis A should contact their health care provider or local health department to discuss post-exposure vaccination options. Individuals who experience symptoms of hepatitis A should contact their health care provider.
What is hepatitis A?
What are the symptoms of hepatitis A?
How is hepatitis A transmitted?
What are the risk factors for hepatitis A?
How can you prevent hepatitis A?
How is hepatitis A treated?
Who should you talk to about a hepatitis A vaccine?
What can health care providers do about hepatitis A?
What has IDPH done about hepatitis A?
Hepatitis A is a vaccine-preventable, infectious liver disease caused by the hepatitis A virus. It is passed easily from one person to another through food, water, drug use, and sex. It can range from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe illness lasting several months. Hepatitis A is a self-limiting disease that does not cause chronic infection.
Symptoms of hepatitis A include:
Loss of appetite
Nausea and/or vomiting
Jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes)
Hepatitis A usually spreads when a person unknowingly ingests the virus from objects, food, or drinks contaminated by small, undetected amounts of stool from an infected person. Hepatitis A can also spread from close personal contact with an infected person such as through sex or caring for someone who is ill.
Although anyone can get hepatitis A, certain groups have a higher risk, such as:
People with direct contact with someone who has hepatitis A
Men who have sexual contact with men
People who are homeless
People who use drugs, both injection and non-injection drugs
People who are incarcerated
Travelers to countries where hepatitis A is common
The best way to prevent hepatitis A is through vaccination. The hepatitis A vaccine is a two-dose series, although one dose will still provide a significant amount of protection. Practicing good hand hygiene also prevents the spread of hepatitis A.
Unvaccinated individuals with recent exposure should receive the hepatitis A vaccine or a shot of immune globulin to prevent severe illness. There is no treatment for hepatitis A aside from treating symptoms through rest, fluids and adequate nutrition.
If you are at a higher risk for contracting hepatitis A, talk with your health care provider about vaccination.
Alternatively, IDPH is working with 56 local health departments around the state covering 59 counties to make hepatitis A vaccine more readily available. IDPH has requested a large number of hepatitis A vaccines from the CDC. That vaccine is being delivered to numerous local health departments across Illinois to be available for free or at a reduced cost for people at the greatest risk of becoming infected.
Do you or someone you know fit into one of these groups?
Use drugs or is a close contact to someone who uses drugs
Homeless or a close contact to someone who is homeless
A man who has sex with men or a close contact to a man who has sex with men
In treatment or counseling for substance abuse
Receiving drug substitution and/or drug court
Works or has been detained in a jail or a detention center
If YES to any of the above please ask about being vaccinated against Hepatitis A today. You may be eligible for a free to low cost hepatitis A vaccine.
|Local Heath Department/Clinic||County||Phone|
|Adams County Health Department||Adams||217-222-8440|
|Boone County Health Department||Boone||815-544-2951|
|CCHHS - Robins||Cook||312-405-7064|
|Champaign-Urbana Public Health District||Champaign||217-531-4317|
|Christian County Health Department||Christian||217-824-4113|
|City of Chicago Health Department||Cook||312-746-6197
|Clark County Health Department||Clark||217-382-4207|
|Clay County Health Department||Clark||618-662-4406|
|Coles County Health Department||Coles||217-348-0530|
|Crawford County Health Department||Crawford||618-544-8798|
|Cumberland County Health Department||Cumberland||217-849-3211|
|DeKalb County Health Department||DeKalb||815-748-2420|
|Dewitt-Piatt County Health Department||Dewitt & Piatt||217-935-3427|
|Douglas County Health Department||Douglas||217-253-4137|
|DuPage County Health Department||DuPage||630-682-7400|
|DuPage County Health Department||DuPage||630-682-7400|
|East Side Health District||St. Clair||618-874-4713|
|Edgar County Public Health Department||Edgar||217-466-3571|
|Fayette County Health Department||Fayette||618-283-1044|
|Ford County Health Department||Ford||217-379-9281|
|Franklin-Williamson County Health Department||Franklin||618-439-0951|
|Franklin-Williamson County Health Department||Williamson||618-993-8111|
|Grundy County Health Department||Grundy||815-941-3126|
|Iroquois County Health Department||Iroquois||815-432-2483|
|Jackson County Health Department||Jackson||618-684-3143|
|Jasper County Health Department||Jasper||618-783-4436|
|Jefferson County Health Department||Jefferson||618-244-7134|
|Jersey County Health Department||Jersey||618-498-9565|
|Kane County Health Department||Kane||630-264-7665|
|Kankakee County Health Department||Kankakee||815-802-9400|
|Kendall County Health Department||Kendall||630-553-9100|
|Knox County Health Department||Knox||309-344-2224|
|Lake County Health Department||Lake||847-377-8470|
|LaSalle County Health Department||LaSalle||815-433-3366|
|Lawrence County Health Department||Lawrence||618-943-3302|
|Lee County Health Department||Lee||815-284-3371|
|Livingston County Health Department||Livingston||815-844-7174|
|Logan County Health Department||Logan||217-735-2317|
|Macon County Health Department||Macon||217-423-6988|
|Macoupin County Health Department||Macoupin||217-839-1526|
|Madison County Health Department||Madison||618-692-8954|
|Marion County Health Department||Marion||618-548-3878|
|McDonough County Health Department||McDonough||309-837-9951|
|McHenry County Health Department||McHenry||815-334-4850|
|McLean County Health Department||McLean||309-888-5450|
|Peoria City/County Health Department||Peoria||309-679-6655|
|Perry County Health Department||Perry||618-357-5371|
|Pike County Health Department||Pike||217-285-4407|
|Sangamon County Health Department||Sangamon||217-535-3100|
|Southern 7 CHD - Alexander||Alexander||618-734-4167|
|Southern 7 CHD - Johnson||Johnson||618-658-5011|
|Southern 7 CHD - Massac||Massac||618-524-2212|
|Southern 7 CHD - Pulaski||Pulaski||618-634-9405|
|Southern 7 CHD - Union||Union||618-833-8561|
|St. Clair County Health Department||St. Clair||618-825-4430|
|Stephenson County Health Department||Stephenson||815-599-8429|
|Stickney Public Health Department||Cook||708-424-9200|
|Tazewell County Health Department||Tazewell||309-925-5511|
|Vermilion County Health Department||Vermilion||217-431-2662|
|Wabash County Health Department||Wabash||618-263-3773|
|Whiteside County Health Department||Whiteside||815-626-2230|
|Will County Health Department||Will||815-727-8865|
|Winnebago County Health Department||Winnebago||815-720-4090|
If health care providers identify any suspected cases of HAV, especially within these high-risk groups, it is important to confirm cases with serologic testing (IgM) and promptly report them to your local health department (LHD).
The HAV vaccine is safe, and highly effective. To prevent hepatitis A, CDC recommends the following groups be vaccinated for HAV:
- All children at age 1 year
- Travelers to countries that have high rates of hepatitis A
- Family members/caregivers of recent adoptees from countries where HAV is common
- Men who have sexual contact with other men
- Users of injection and non-injection illegal drugs
- People with chronic (lifelong) liver diseases, such as hepatitis B or C
- People who are treated with clotting-factor concentrates
- People who work with infected animals or in a HAV research laboratory
Recently, ACIP voted unanimously to add “homelessness” as an additional indication for ACIP-recommended HAV vaccination (1). We recommend all providers screen their patients and provide HAV vaccine when indicated. While two doses are recommended to complete the series, even one dose provides nearly 95% immunity for at least several years
In the fall of 2017, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) issued a memo regarding multiple outbreaks of hepatitis A in the U.S. So far in 2018, many of these outbreaks are still ongoing and additional outbreaks have been reported in several states such as Indiana, Michigan and Kentucky. These outbreaks are predominantly occurring in the homeless populations and in persons who use injection and non-injection drugs (IDU), along with close contacts of both groups. Additional outbreak clusters have also been identified in men who have sex with other men (MSM) and persons who are or have recently been incarcerated. On June 5, 2018, IDPH sent a memo to local health departments and medical providers encouraging the continuation of testing, reporting and vaccination of populations at risk for Hepatitis A.
IDPH Press Releases
Five Cases of Hepatitis A in Illinois (12/4/18)
Hepatitis A PSA (9/10/18)
Hepatitis A Cases are Increasing (7/27/18)