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Reuters Health Information (2003-09-04): Hepatitis A hits jam band followers

Public Health

Hepatitis A hits jam band followers

Last Updated: 2003-09-04 15:32:52 -0400 (Reuters Health)

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Health officials are investigating an outbreak of hepatitis A among young adults who attended several outdoor "jam band" music festivals and camping events this past spring and summer

As of September 2nd, a total of 25 cases of hepatitis A among concert attendees in nine states (Arizona, California, Colorado, Indiana, Michigan, New York, Oregon, Tennessee, and Wisconsin) have been identified, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Most of those infected attended several of these large outdoor concerts, traveling from one event to the next continuously, sometimes over a period of several months, according to the September 5th issue of the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report

Epidemiologic and laboratory investigations are in progress to identify potential sources of hepatitis A virus infection as well as modes of transmission. Crowded conditions, a lack of hand-washing facilities, and poor sanitation may have contributed to the spread of the disease. The finding that several patients reported close contact with other infected individuals during the incubation period points to person-to-person transmission, the CDC notes.

In response to the outbreak, the CDC and state and local health departments held education and vaccination campaigns at two summer concert events, vaccinating roughly 300 attendees and providing postexposure prophylaxis to others.

While the summer outdoor concert season has ended, the CDC is concerned that person-to-person spread may continue at fall concert tours beginning this month.

Dr. Priti Patel of the CDC's National Center for Infectious Diseases and colleagues recommend that healthcare providers and state and local health departments ask persons newly diagnosed with hepatitis A about concert attendance and report cases to CDC.

The telephone number for the CDC's Division of Viral Hepatitis is 404-371-5419.

Mor Mortal Wkly Rep CDC Surveill Summ 2003;844-845.

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