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Louisiana Department of Health urging high risk groups to get Hepatitis A vaccine

Posted at 10:11 PM, Jun 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-30 23:34:20-04

Louisiana is apart of a nationwide outbreak of Hepatitis A.

Louisiana typically sees anywhere from eight to ten cases a year, but that number has climbed to over 300. That number includes cases in Acadiana.

Dr. Tina Stefanski, the Regional Director Medical Director for the Office of Public Health, says that in the last year and a half, the number of Hepatitis A cases are the highest they’ve ever been in the state.

“The top three groups where we are seeing the largest numbers of outbreaks are drug users. IV drug users and non-IV drug users. Those experiencing homelessness and people who are or were recently incarcerated. Those are the three big risk groups,” Stefanski said.

A map on the Department of Health website shows the state broken down by parish. Anywhere from one to 15 cases have been reported in Lafayette, Acadia, Vermilion, Iberia, St. Mary and St. Landry parishes. Since this outbreak, one person has died in the state and about 60% of those affected have been hospitalized.

“Our message to people is that Hepatitis A can be prevented by a vaccine. One dose of the vaccine is about 95% effective in presenting someone from becoming sick,” Stefanski said.