The PHLS Advisory Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, following a review of the evidence on control measures for preventing hepatitis A virus (HAV) infection and widespread consultation, has prepared the following guidelines. They include a description of the current epidemiology of HAV infection in England and Wales, where most individuals are now susceptible to HAV. HAV infection is uncommon, with around 1000 infections notified per year in England and Wales. Clusters occur in families and in settings where potential for faecal/oral spread is high, e.g. day care centres, nurseries, primary schools. Larger outbreaks have been recorded in men who have sex with men and injecting drug users. Personal hygiene remains the cornerstone of measures for preventing HAV infection and its spread. Those with haemophilia, hepatitis B or C virus infection or liver cirrhosis, intravenous drug users and men who have sex with men should be offered HAV vaccination as a preventive measure. HAV vaccine should be used for preventing secondary cases and outbreaks provided that patients are informed that the latest date the vaccine is most likely to be effective in preventing disease in contacts is probably 7 days from onset of illness in the primary case. Human normal immunoglobulin (HNIG) should be offered in addition or in preference to vaccine for contacts who are more than 7 days from onset of illness in the primary case, and for those at risk of adverse outcome of HAV infection. Individuals at particular risk of an adverse outcome to infection include those more than 50 years old, with liver cirrhosis of any cause, or with pre-existing hepatitis B or C virus infection. HAV vaccine should be used to prevent infection for travellers to countries where HAV infection is a risk. HNIG is no longer indicated for travellers. Children travelling to such countries should be offered vaccine from 5 years and consideration should be given to vaccinating those aged 1-4 years.
|Number of pages||15|
|Journal||Communicable disease and public health / PHLS|
|Publication status||Published - Sep 2001|