Updated
November 18th, 2019

New Jersey Hepatitis A Outbreak Related to 6 Fatalities

Over 84% of New Jersey hepatitis A cases have been hospitalized in 2019

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Due to overwhelming demand, the Somerset County Department of Health will conduct a 3rd Hepatitis A vaccination clinic on November. 8, 2019, at 27 Warren St., Somerville, New Jersey.

This additional vaccination clinic is related to a ShopRite employee in New Jersey working while infectious with the Hepatitis A virus.  

These vaccination clinics are for individuals who may have eaten items purchased at the in-store deli department or used the restrooms at the ShopRite of Somerville, between October 13 to 30, 2019. 

Hepatitis A vaccinations for adults age 19 and older will be given on a first-come, first-serve basis while supplies last, health officials said in an online statement.

However, pediatric vaccines (those 18 and under) will not be available at this clinic. 

Freeholder Director Brian D. Levine said in this new statement, "We understand residents are concerned. The county health department has been working diligently to ensure that vaccinations are available.’

As of November 2, the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) says there have been 541 confirmed cases of hepatitis A in New Jersey since Dec. 1, 2018. About 84 percent of these individuals were hospitalized.

Furthermore, this Hepatitis A outbreak has been related to 6 fatalities.

Additionally, the NJDOH has notified healthcare providers so they can be alert to test for hepatitis A if a patient has symptoms and so they can provide vaccine if an opportunity occurs, to those at risk of infection.

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Hepatitis A is a contagious liver infection caused by a virus. It can range from a mild infection with no symptoms lasting a few weeks to a severe illness lasting several months that can result in liver failure and death, says the NJDOH.

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To be effective, the hepatitis A vaccine should be received as soon as possible, but no later than 2-weeks after eating food from this deli. 

For most people, this date would be Nov. 13, 2019. 

Immunocompromised persons – those with weakened immune systems – should talk with their healthcare provider about getting immunoglobulin or Ig instead of the vaccine.

If you believe you were exposed you should:

  • Monitor your health for symptoms of the hepatitis A infection, which include fatigue, low appetite, stomach pain, nausea and jaundice up to 50 days after exposure.
  • Wash your hands with soap and warm water frequently and thoroughly, especially after using the bathroom and before preparing food.
  • Stay at home and contact your health care provider immediately if symptoms of hepatitis A infection develop.

If you have additional concerns about your health, contact your NJ healthcare provider for recommendations.

There are 3 HAV vaccines approved in the USA: Vaqta, Havrix, and Twinrix, which are available at most pharmacies in NJ. Vaccine discounts can be found here.

Furthermore, immune globulin can provide short-term protection against hepatitis A, both pre- and post-exposure.

The most common potential side effect of these vaccines is soreness at or around the injection site. Other potential side effects include mild headache, loss of appetite among children, and feeling tired. 

Answers to frequently asked questions about hepatitis A are available at NJDOH.

For more information about hepatitis A, visit the Somerset County Department of Health website.

Hepatitis A vaccine news published by Precision Vaccinations