Nav: Home

Vaccination: Main prevention measure to address hepatitis A outbreaks among MSM

June 15, 2017

1 173 confirmed hepatitis A cases involving three separate clusters have been reported across 15 countries of the European Union since June 2016. Several EU countries have seen large increases in hepatitis A cases in 2017 compared to previous years, and these are mainly affecting men who have sex with men. In light of these outbreaks and the beginning of Pride period, ECDC stresses the importance of hepatitis A vaccination and the delivery of primary prevention messages as main options to avoid new infections. As several EU/EEA countries experience hepatitis A vaccine shortages, targeting of vaccination to groups at higher risk of infection and advice for safer sex practice are also highlighted.

The on-going hepatitis A (HAV) outbreaks across Europe are rapidly spreading and they have most likely not reached their peak yet. On the contrary: due to reporting delays, the currently available figures do not reflect the true extent of the outbreak situation. So far, most cases are reported among unvaccinated men who have sex with men (MSM) but there is evidence of secondary cases among other groups. Countries reporting outbreak-related cases are Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

Particularly Spain and Italy report high numbers of hepatitis A infections, mostly in men (see ECDC's updated rapid risk assessment). In Spain, cases reported in 2017 are almost eight times higher than the average number of cases reported during the same period between the years 2012 and 2016. Sequencing results to identify possible links to the circulating HAV strains from several affected EU/EEA countries are still pending.

Interrupting the transmission chain with vaccination and PEP

"As suggested in our latest rapid risk assessment, further transmission may be prevented by vaccination of men who have sex with men and post-exposure prophylaxis among contacts of those infected", says ECDC Acting Director Andrea Ammon, "limited vaccine availability in some countries may however have an impact on the implementation of such control measures."

Austria, Italy, Portugal and Spain are facing hepatitis A vaccine shortages while the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Slovenia and Sweden have reported no shortages. As outlined in the ECDC risk assessment, countries should interact directly with marketing authorisation holders to enquire about supplies at national level as early as possible, i.e. create forecasts of the number of doses required and make procurement arrangements. Any changes in current hepatitis A vaccination policies and supplementary immunisation activities should be planned as early as possible.

Staying healthy during Pride season

With the start of the Pride season, including the upcoming WorldPride in Madrid with an expected three million participants, the main recommendations stated in the ECDC risk assessment for this event remain valid:
  • Travelers to Pride events should ensure their routine vaccination courses and boosters are up to date as recommended in their country of residence, and discuss the need for additional vaccinations or booster doses with their healthcare provider.

  • In addition, participants should get advice on prevention of sexually transmitted infections prior to attendance. MSM should check their vaccination status against hepatitis A and B, in the context of the on-going hepatitis A outbreaks mainly affecting MSM in EU countries. They should also ask their healthcare provider about national recommendations on HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).

  • Testing for sexually transmitted infections (including HIV and hepatitis) and healthcare provider evaluation in those experiencing symptoms or had engaged in unprotected sexual activity with casual partners is advised after return.
-end-


European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC)

Related Hepatitis Articles:

Hepatitis C increasing among pregnant women
Hepatitis C infections among pregnant women nearly doubled from 2009-2014, likely a consequence of the country's increasing opioid epidemic that is disproportionately affecting rural areas of states including Tennessee and West Virginia.
WHO's Global Hepatitis Report sets baseline to eliminate viral hepatitis by 2030
The World Hepatitis Alliance today welcomes the publication of the first-ever Global Hepatitis Report by the World Health Organization (WHO), which includes new data on the prevalence and global burden of viral hepatitis.
Elimination of viral hepatitis by 2030: What's needed and how do we get there?
This first European Action Plan provides an important driver to aid countries in their fight against viral hepatitis, to which ECDC had the opportunity to contribute directly.
Discovery of new Hepatitis C virus mechanism
Researchers at Osaka University, Japan uncovered the mechanisms that suppress the propagation of the hepatitis C virus with the potential of improving pathological liver conditions.
Is Europe ready to eliminate viral hepatitis?
Currently, Europe records around 57,000 newly diagnosed acute and chronic cases of hepatitis B and C each year.
Why baby boomers need a hepatitis C screening
Hepatitis C affects a disproportionate amount of older Americans, born between 1945 and 1965.
Counterattack of the hepatitis B virus
The hepatitis B virus (HBV) infects liver cells. Drugs are available to treat HBV, but they rarely cure the infection, and so the virus typically returns after the treatment ends.
Hepatitis C tied to increased risk of Parkinson's
The hepatitis C virus may be associated with an increased risk of developing Parkinson's disease, according to a study published in the Dec.
The hepatitis A virus is of animal origin
The hepatitis A virus can trigger acute liver inflammation which generally has a mild course in small children but which can become dangerous in adults.
Modeling the helicase to understand hepatitis C
NS3 is an enzyme specific to the hepatitis C virus.

Related Hepatitis Reading:

NOFX: The Hepatitis Bathtub and Other Stories
by NOFX (Author), Jeff Alulis (Author)

Dr. Melissa Palmer's Guide To Hepatitis and Liver Disease
by Avery

Hepatitis C: A Complete Guide for Patients and Families (A Johns Hopkins Press Health Book)
by Paul J. Thuluvath (Author)

Healing Hepatitis and Liver Disease Naturally: Detoxification. Liver gall bladder flush & Cleanse. Cure Hepatitis C and Hepatitis B. Lower blood cholesterol and stop cirrhosis
by Peter Oyakhire (Author)

A Never Event: Exposing the Largest Outbreak of Hepatitis C in American Healthcare History
by Evelyn V. McKnight (Author), Travis T. Bennington (Author)

Understanding Hepatitis: An Introduction for Patients and Caregivers
by Naheed, Ali (Author)

Hepatitis B Virus: Methods and Protocols (Methods in Molecular Biology)
by Haitao Guo (Editor), Andrea Cuconati (Editor)

Hepatitis B Virus and Liver Disease
by Jia-Horng Kao (Editor), Ding-Shinn Chen (Editor)

A National Strategy for the Elimination of Hepatitis B and C: Phase Two Report
by Engineering, and Medicine National Academies of Sciences (Author), Health and Medicine Division (Author), Board on Population Health and Public Health Practice (Author), Committee on a National Strategy for the Elimination of Hepatitis B and C (Author), Brian L. Strom (Editor), Gillian J. Buckley (Editor)

Herbs for Hepatitis C and the Liver (A Storey Medicinal Herb Guide)
by Stephen Harrod Buhner (Author)

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Bias And Perception
How does bias distort our thinking, our listening, our beliefs... and even our search results? How can we fight it? This hour, TED speakers explore ideas about the unconscious biases that shape us. Guests include writer and broadcaster Yassmin Abdel-Magied, climatologist J. Marshall Shepherd, journalist Andreas Ekström, and experimental psychologist Tony Salvador.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#513 Dinosaur Tails
This week: dinosaurs! We're discussing dinosaur tails, bipedalism, paleontology public outreach, dinosaur MOOCs, and other neat dinosaur related things with Dr. Scott Persons from the University of Alberta, who is also the author of the book "Dinosaurs of the Alberta Badlands".