Increase in Hepatitis A Virus Infections - United States, 2013-2018

MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2019 May 10;68(18):413-415. doi: 10.15585/mmwr.mm6818a2.


Hepatitis A virus (HAV) is primarily transmitted fecal-orally after close contact with an infected person (1); it is the most common cause of viral hepatitis worldwide, typically causing acute and self-limited symptoms, although rarely liver failure and death can occur (1). Rates of hepatitis A had declined by approximately 95% during 1996-2011; however, during 2016-2018, CDC received approximately 15,000 reports of HAV infections from U.S. states and territories, indicating a recent increase in transmission (2,3). Since 2017, the vast majority of these reports were related to multiple outbreaks of infections among persons reporting drug use or homelessness (4). In addition, increases of HAV infections have also occurred among men who have sex with men (MSM) and, to a much lesser degree, in association with consumption of imported HAV-contaminated food (5,6). Overall, reports of hepatitis A cases increased 294% during 2016-2018 compared with 2013-2015. During 2016-2018, CDC tested 4,282 specimens, of which 3,877 (91%) had detectable HAV RNA; 565 (15%), 3,255 (84%), and 57 (<1%) of these specimens were genotype IA, IB, or IIIA, respectively. Adherence to the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommendations to vaccinate populations at risk can help control the current increases and prevent future outbreaks of hepatitis A in the United States (7).

MeSH terms

  • Disease Notification / statistics & numerical data
  • Disease Outbreaks*
  • Hepatitis A / epidemiology*
  • Hepatitis A virus / genetics
  • Hepatitis A virus / isolation & purification
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Population Surveillance*
  • Risk Factors
  • United States / epidemiology