CDC Viral Hepatitis Updates
Viral Hepatitis and Young Persons Who Inject Prescription Opioids and Heroin
The hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) are among the numerous health threats facing people who misuse opioids, particularly those who inject these drugs. These blood-borne viral infections have reached epidemic proportions in most states. http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/
Federal Funding of Syringe Services Programs (SSPs) The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016 includes language in Division H, Sec. 520 that gives states and local communities, under limited circumstances, the opportunity to use federal funds to support certain components of SSPs. To support implementation of this change in law, HHS has released new guidance for state, local, tribal, and territorial health departments that will allow them to request permission to use federal funds to support SSPs. Federal funds can now be used to support a comprehensive set of services, but they cannot be used to purchase sterile needles or syringes for illegal drug injection. The CDC Program Guidance for Implementing Certain Components of Syringe Services Programs, 2016 provides specific procedures for CDC-funded grantees.
MMWR: Notes from the Field: Health Care–Associated Hepatitis A Outbreak — Texas, 2015
On August 27–28, 2015, the Texas Department of State Health Services received calls from Fort Bend County and Harris County health departments requesting postexposure prophylaxis (PEP) recommendations for contacts of two nurses (patients A and B) with confirmed hepatitis A virus (HAV) infection. Both nurses had symptom onset during August 15–19 and worked for the same pediatric home health care agency in another jurisdiction. Because of the proximity of the onset dates, a common source exposure was suspected - a hepatitis A–vaccinated immune suppressed pediatric solid organ transplant recipient. The state and local health departments began an investigation to identify potentially exposed patients, their families, and other agency personnel; offer PEP; and identify the source of exposure.
Public Health Report Supplement: The CDC HepTLC Initiative
CDC developed the Hepatitis Testing and Linkage to Care (HepTLC) initiative to implement the agency’s recommendations for hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) testing. With an appropriation from the Prevention and Public Health Fund (PPHF) in 2012 and resources from HHS to continue the PPHF-supported projects in 2013, CDC supported nine programs that implemented HBV testing in seven states: California, Florida, Illinois, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, and Oregon; and, 24 HCV testing and linkage-to-care programs located in Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Maine, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, Washington, Washington (DC), and Wisconsin. The articles in the supplemental issue of Public Health Reports (PHR) demonstrate the effectiveness of diverse HBV and HCV testing strategies employed by demonstration projects, as well as some of the challenges.