States ramp up hep A response following man's death

Three states are joining NSW in offering free vaccinations

The response to Australia’s hepatitis A outbreak among men who have sex with men (MSM) has intensified after the death of a Victorian man.

Queensland, SA and Victoria have joined NSW in offering free vaccinations to high-risk groups including MSM following an outbreak linked to three strains introduced from Europe.

In the second half of last year, NSW authorities reported 37 cases of a UK strain of hepatitis A, mostly acquired locally and through sexual contact.

The last NSW case occurred in December and officials now believe they have the outbreak under control. However, the disease has since spread to Victoria, where there have been 48 notifications since the start of this year.

All cases are male, and many are MSM who have not travelled overseas, with an increasing number of cases being seen in people who inject drugs, infectious diseases physicians say.


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