The incidence of a Hepatitis A outbreak on a massive scale which hitherto was uncommon till the earlier decade in the U.S. made a comeback in the year 2016. The incidences of the disease which were mostly ascribed to adulterated commercial food items then have increased by almost 300% since 2016 to date as per reports by health officials. This was printed in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s ‘Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report’ on 10th May.
The year 2016 witnessed two outbreaks of the disease that was largely attributed to contaminated food; however, the fundamental cause of the disease eruption is the poor living conditions of drug abusers and homeless people. The virus causing the disease remains in feces and a large number of cases from 2016 to 2018 have occurred due to person-to-person transmission as per lead researcher Dr. Monique Foster. She continued that there have been about 15,000 reported cases of Hepatitis A with 8,500 hospitalizations and 140 fatalities during the period. Hepatitis A affects the liver and can take severe proportions in individuals with low immune systems and those having cancer. She added that vaccination was the best preventive solution against the disease outbreak.
Yet there were individuals not exposed to the vaccine and they largely included homeless people, drug abusers and bisexual and gay men. One of the major recommendations of the CDC in this context to the high risk individuals was to undergo vaccination. But more than vaccination it was necessary to strike at the very root of the problem and that was solving the social problems that aggravate the disease outbreak. All breeding grounds for the virus have to be cleaned up and sanitation improved among the vulnerable sections of the society. The Hepatitis A infections was a public health issue involving matters of sanitation, cultural problems and public safety.