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Public Health Minimize
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Hepatitis A Virus (HAV)


Santa Cruz County Public Health Officer Dr. Arnold Leff, on February 6, 2018, declared an end to the hepatitis A outbreak that began afflicting local patients in April 2017.

Overall, Santa Cruz County saw 76 confirmed cases of hepatitis A, including one death where hepatitis A was a contributing factor. To address the outbreak, the County held several free vaccine clinics, facilitated placement of portable bathrooms and hand-washing stations, did case-and-contact investigations and follow-up, and conducted widespread outreach to the public, local businesses, and impacted populations.

Clinicians should promptly report confirmed and suspect cases of HAV to Santa Cruz County Public Health / Communicable Disease Unit (CDU) via fax to (831) 454-5049 using the Confidential Morbidity Report (CMR).

  • Copies of pertinent laboratory testing results and clinical notes should be included.
  • Collection of contact information and travel history is of utmost importance.

What is Hepatitis A?

Hepatitis A is a liver infection caused by the Hepatitis A virus (HAV). HAV is highly contagious. It can cause liver disease, lasting a few weeks to a serious illness lasting months. In some cases, people can die. Hepatitis A can be prevented with good sanitation or a safe and effective vaccine.

What are the symptoms?

HAV does not always cause symptoms. Some people get HAV and have no symptoms of the diseases. Adults are more likely to have symptoms than children.

Symptoms include fever, fatigue, nausea, loss of appetite, yellowing of the eyes (jaundice), stomach pain, vomiting, dark urine, pale stools, and diarrhea.

How can HAV be prevented?

  • Wash your hands frequently, especially after using the bathroom or changing diapers.
  • Maintain availability of public handwashing stations to increase sanitation.
  • Don’t have sex with someone who has HAV infection.
  • Use your own towels, toothbrushes, and eating utensils.
  • Don’t share food, drinks, or smokes with other people.
  • Hepatitis A can be prevented with good sanitation or a safe and effective vaccine.

How is it transmitted?

HAV is usually transmitted by:

  • Touching objects or eating food that someone with HAV infection handled.
  • Having sex with someone who has a HAV infection.
  • By the fecal-oral route. When a person ingests food or water that has been contaminated with even a tiny or microscopic amount of feces from an infected person.

Who is at increased risk for getting HAV infection?

  • Travelers to countries with high or medium rates of HAV.
  • Users of injection and non-injection illegal drugs.
  • Men who have sex with men.
  • Persons with clotting factor disorders.
  • Persons with poor access to sanitation facilities.

Take CDC’s Hepatitis Risk Assessment and get a personalized report in 5 minutes.

Where can I get vaccinated?

Please contact your local healthcare provider to request the HAV vaccine.


County Declares End to Local Hepatitis A Outbreak
(Feb. 6, 2018)

Number of Confirmed Hepatitis A Cases by Week (4/1/17 through 11/2/17)

If you have questions or need information regarding possible Hepatitis A virus cases call the Public Health Department Communicable Disease Unit at (831) 454-4114