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News From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
April 14, 2015

Hepatitis A Transmission Hits Group Homes for the Disabled

JAMA. 2015;313(14):1410. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.2674

Thanks to a rapid response, public health officials in 2013 contained a 3-month hepatitis A virus (HAV) outbreak among people with developmental disabilities living in 5 group homes in southeastern Michigan. Among 8 who were infected, 1 died of fulminant liver failure.

The HAV vaccination rate among group home residents and staff in the 2 affected counties was low. Attack rates—the number of cases per home divided by the number of susceptible residents—ranged from 16.7% to 60% among the 5 affected group homes. Adults with disabilities who were incontinent and living in close quarters, a situation complicated by a lack of hand washing, likely caused HAV to spread. One staff member, who worked at 2 of the group homes, didn’t always use gloves when helping residents with toileting and may have transmitted HAV to 6 of 8 infected residents (Bohn SR et al. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2015;64[6]:148-152).