Chief Health Officer, Health Alert: Hepatitis A Outbreak

Chief Health Officer, Health Alert: Hepatitis A Outbreak

24 November, 2017

Status: Active                            

Date issued: 23 November 2017                        

Issued by: Dr Brett Sutton, Deputy Chief Officer (Communicable Disease), Victoria             

Issued to: Health professionals 

  • An outbreak of hepatitis A has been identified in Victoria, with ten confirmed outbreak cases.
  • All confirmed cases are adults, many of who are MSM or report male-to-male sexual activity and have not travelled overseas.
  • Outbreaks of hepatitis A can occur through person-to-person transmission, particularly sexual transmission, which includes but is not limited to MSM. Outbreaks can also occur through consumption of contaminated food/water.
  • Offer hepatitis A vaccine to MSM and people in other risk groups. Hepatitis A vaccination is strongly recommended for all MSM, and is also recommended for all travellers to countries where hepatitis A is endemic.
  • Consider hepatitis A infection in patients presenting with a compatible clinical illness who are MSM or have other risk factors, and take blood for serology (IgM). Sexual activity should be avoided while results are pending.
  • Notify suspected cases of acute viral hepatitis to the Department of Health and Human Services by calling 1300 651 160, without waiting for serology results. This will help with instituting immediate precautionary infection control measures.
  • Early notification also helps with timely post-exposure prophylaxis for contacts, once infection is confirmed                                          

More information

Read the full alert Hepatitis A outbreak