range County Public Health received a report last week of one case of hepatitis A virus (HAV) infection in a county resident with no history of travel outside the county or exposure to HAV. The case had a history of illicit drug use but no history of experiencing homelessness. Since mid-October of this year, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has identified three cases of hepatitis A virus (HAV) amongst individuals who use illicit (injection and non-injection) drugs and/or who are experiencing homelessness. Genotypic testing indicates that the Orange County case is unrelated to the Los Angeles cases.
HAV infections in Orange County have historically occurred after travel internationally to an HAV-endemic area, but five cases have of hepatitis A have been reported in 2018 in Orange County residents with no history of international travel or exposure to HAV. The case reported last week is the first of this year’s OC cases to have a history of illicit drug use; none had a history of experiencing homelessness.
Last year’s outbreak in San Diego has subsided, but significant outbreaks of HAV focused on persons with a history of illicit drug use and/or homelessness continue in other parts of the United States. In this setting, there is an ongoing risk for transmission and morbidity in Orange County.