Public Health Alerts
2019 has seen increased focus on vaccinations and immunizations with U.S. measles cases hitting a record high since the disease was eliminated in 2000 and a statewide outbreak of hepatitis A in South Carolina.
Measles continues to spread across the U.S. with cases confirmed in 28 states. South Carolina is not among them. The 28 states that have confirmed cases to the CDC are Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Mexico, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon Pennsylvania, Texas, Tennessee, Virginia, and Washington.
Measles is highly contagious and can travel through the air from coughing or sneezing – two of the most common symptoms. Although South Carolina has yet to confirm a case this year, healthcare providers should remain vigilant and encourage patients to get the recommended vaccines to prevent infection.
Hepatitis A has reached the point of a statewide outbreak in South Carolina as other states also attempt to tackle the viral liver infection. The statewide outbreak was declared on May 13, 2019 and coincides with a national hepatitis A outbreak that began in 2016.
Many of the hepatitis A reports have come from health officials warning restaurant customers who may have been exposed to the virus in Aiken, Hilton Head, Lexington County, North Augusta and North Charleston.
DHEC is offering free vaccines to adults who may be at higher risk for hepatitis A:
- People who use injection or non-injection drugs
- People who are homeless
- People who are or recently were incarcerated
- Men who have sex with men
- People with chronic liver disease like cirrhosis, hepatitis B or C
- People who are traveling to countries where hepatitis A is common
- People with chronic liver disease like cirrhosis, hepatitis B or C as they have an increased risk of complications if infected with hepatitis A
Resources for Healthcare Providers:
- SCDHEC Hepatitis Page
- South Carolina List of Reportable Conditions
- SCDHEC Webinar on Measles and Hepatitis A