Outbreak Investigation, Public Health and Health Policy
30/30 Education Session - 30 minutes
In November 2017, a statewide outbreak of hepatitis A virus (HAV) was declared, primarily centered around the homeless and/or illicit drug users (IDUs). As of November 2018, over 2,700 cases of HAV have been identified. Initially, most of these cases occurred in a single county with over 635 confirmed cases. Collaboration between that county's local public health department (LDH) and an acute care facility was critical in identification and response to the outbreak.
Communication between the acute care facility and the LHD began even before the official outbreak declaration and continued throughout the outbreak. The hospital’s IPC department served as the point of contact for the health department. Interventions were developed and implemented to support:
a) more active HAV surveillance and epidemiological response through phone notification to the health department of suspected HAV cases,
b) the forwarding of laboratory specimens to the state and CDC laboratories for further genotype testing,
c) enact additional infection control measures and education in the context of this outbreak,
d) advocating for healthcare personnel (HCP) vaccination, and
e) response to HCPs diagnosed with HAV.