US: New York City hepatitis A: MSM urged to get vaccinated

The New York City Health Department is reporting 46 patients positive for hepatitis A through August 31, 45 of whom are men who have sex with men (MSM) prompting officials to recommend that all MSM be vaccinated against the viral disease

Thirty-seven of the 46 patients reported no travel to countries where hepatitis A is prevalent. This is a significant increase over the last six years, when the Department identified an average of only three cases annually of hepatitis A infections among MSM who reported no travel to countries where this disease was prevalent.

The Health Department recommends all MSM be vaccinated against hepatitis A. Of the 46 cases, only three patients with infection reported previously receiving a hepatitis A vaccine.

“As we see this troubling rise in hepatitis A infections among men who have sex with men, we remind New Yorkers that this disease is easily preventable,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett. “Hepatitis A can potentially lead to long-term complications, but staying up-to-date with vaccinations is the best way to protect yourself and your fellow New Yorkers. Vaccinations are readily accessible and available at our Immunization Clinic and eight Sexual Health Clinics.” Read more via Outbreak News