State issues alert after surge in Hepatitis A cases

Officials said that since April there have been 65 acute cases of hepatitis A infection. One person died.

BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts has issued a public health alert after a spike in hepatitis A among the homeless and people with substance abuse disorder.

The state Department of Public Health said Monday that since April there have been 65 acute cases of hepatitis A infection. One person died.

Forty of the cases were reported during the last two weeks of August and first two weeks of September.

The agency is urging local health officials to work closely with community-based group that provide services to the homeless and those with substance abuse issues, and make vaccines available to those most at risk.

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Nearly half of the reported hepatitis A cases since April were in Boston.

Officials say many of those infected also showed signs of hepatitis C, making their conditions even more serious.

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