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Reuters Health Information (2009-02-25): U.S. panel widens recommendations on hepatitis A vaccination

Public Health

U.S. panel widens recommendations on hepatitis A vaccination

Last Updated: 2009-02-25 16:42:10 -0400 (Reuters Health)

CHICAGO (Reuters) - U.S. citizens who expect to have close contact with an adopted child from countries with high rates of hepatitis A should be immunized if they have not been already, U.S. immunization advisers said on Wednesday.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, which advises the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said unvaccinated people who will have close contact with the child should get the vaccine within 60 days of the adoptee's arrival in the United States.

Prior recommendations covered only parents traveling to countries with high or intermediate rates of hepatitis A infection.

Last year, the CDC received several reports of hepatitis A infections in children and adults linked to adoptees from Ethiopia.

The committee, meeting in Atlanta, said adoptive parents and caregivers should get the first dose of the hepatitis A vaccine as soon as adoption is planned.

Ideally, the first of two doses of the vaccine should be administered at least two weeks before the child's arrival.

The CDC recommends vaccination for all children starting at age 1, for travelers to certain countries and others at risk.

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