Important Facts for Hepatitis A Infections
DefinitionHepatitis A is a liver disease that results from infection with the hepatitis A virus. A hepatitis A case is defined as a person meeting specific laboratory criteria who has a clinical presentation of the disease.
NumeratorNumber of confirmed hepatitis A infections reported in Utah each year.
DenominatorTotal Utah population per year.
Data Interpretation IssuesThe rate reported is number of cases per 100,000 population per year.
Why Is This Important?Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease that results from infection with the hepatitis A virus. It can range in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe illness lasting several months. Hepatitis A is usually spread when a person ingests fecal matter--even in microscopic amounts--from contact with objects, food, or drinks contaminated by the feces or stool of an infected person. The best way to prevent hepatitis A is by getting vaccinated. Rates of hepatitis A in the United States are the lowest they have been in 40 years. The hepatitis A vaccine was introduced in 1995 and health professionals now routinely vaccinate all children, travelers to certain countries, and persons at risk for the disease. Hepatitis A vaccination has dramatically affected rates of the disease in the United States and the number of reported cases in the state has steadily decreased since that time. Surveillance data are used to detect outbreaks, determine the effectiveness of hepatitis A immunizations, monitor disease incidence in all age groups, determine the epidemiologic characteristics of infected persons including source of infection, and assess and reduce missed opportunities for vaccination. In the U.S., there were 1,987 new hepatitis A virus infections reported to CDC in 2009. The actual number of cases is considered to be much higher, since many people who are infected never have symptoms and are never reported to public health officials. It is estimated that there were 10,000 new infections in 2009 in the U.S.
Healthy People Objective IID-1:Reduce, eliminate, or maintain elimination of cases of vaccine-preventable diseases
U.S. Target: Not applicable, see subobjectives in this category