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Anniversary of one of the largest hepatitis A outbreaks in the US brings experts together

ffected approximately 600 people, who contracted the disease from contaminated food at a local restaurant. Not only was this one of the largest outbreaks of hepatitis A in U.S. history, but it also resulted in the deaths of three people.

"Hepatitis A is a serious and continuing public health threat," said David Neumann, PhD, Executive Director of the National Partnership for Immunization. "Recent outbreaks have had an enormous impact on communities, causing illness and even death. Unfortunately, many of these cases could have been prevented through vaccination."

Hepatitis A can affect anyone, as evidenced by the recent outbreaks in areas across the country. According to the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, routine vaccination of children is the most effective way to reduce hepatitis A incidence nationwide over time. Research shows that national childhood vaccination of hepatitis A would reduce the number of primary cases by 54 percent and would be a cost-effective strategy. Hepatitis A is a potentially fatal liver disease which significantly impacts the U.S. economy, costing nearly $500 million annually.

Expanding childhood vaccination requirements could be an effective strategy to help save lives, reduce the burden of hepatitis A disease and reduce this negative impact on the economy. For more information on hepatitis A and prevention through vaccination, log on to www.partnersforimmunization.org. Support for this educational effort is being provided by GlaxoSmithKline, a company that joins NPI in its commitment to help reduce the incidence of hepatitis A in the U.S.


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Contact: April Starling
April_Starling@nyc.cohnwolfe.com
212-798-6861
Cohn & Wolfe
13-Dec-2004


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