Since 2016, multiple states have been experiencing hepatitis A outbreaks spread through person-to-person contact, primarily among people who use drugs and people experiencing homelessness. Virginia conducted a retrospective review of hepatitis A cases reported since 2013. Based on this analysis, Virginia met the CDC definition of an outbreak state beginning January 1, 2019. On April 23, 2019, VDH officially declared that an outbreak of hepatitis A is occurring in Virginia. VDH is intensifying response efforts by establishing an ICS response structure, continuing vaccination efforts among high-risk populations, and implementing risk communication and health education strategies.
In response to an increase in cases in surrounding states, Virginia developed a statewide hepatitis a virus (HAV) vaccination campaign that launched in January 2019. The campaign is focusing specifically on adults who are members of high risk groups such as those who are or have recently been incarcerated, persons who are experiencing homelessness, injection and non-injection drug users, and men who have sex with men (MSM). Although the campaign’s focus is on those who are at high risk for hepatitis A infection, any Virginian who desires hepatitis A vaccine may receive the vaccine.