Understand Your Risk of Hepatitis A – Interview

Understand Your Risk of Hepatitis A – Interview



July 28 marked World Hepatitis Day, one of the World Health Organization’s global public health awareness campaign days.1.The goal is to educate about the different types of viral hepatitis, including Hepatitis A which has been causing an outbreak in the US

After a consistent 20-year downward trend in cases,

Hepatitis A spiked in a nationwide outbreak, beginning in California and Michigan in 2016 and extending to include 33 states by early 2020.

During this time, there have been more than 33,000 reported cases, with 61% of infected persons hospitalized, and 329 deaths, making it the largest person-to-person Hepatitis A virus outbreak in the postvaccine era.2

It’s important to remind people that Hepatitis A is a preventable disease. The best way to prevent infection is through vaccination. Immunization rates across the lifespan have dropped significantly during the COVID-19 shutdown with adult vaccination rates dropping 83 percent during the peak of the pandemic.5


· Hepatitis A is a highly contagious viral infection that targets the liver.3

· It is passed in the stool of infected people. People with Hepatitis A may not know that they are infected.3

· Hepatitis A is spread person-to-person or through contaminated food or drink.3

· Symptoms vary by person but can include fever, tiredness, jaundice (yellow skin or eyes), poor appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine or light-colored stools, diarrhea, joint pain.3

· Anyone can be at risk for Hepatitis A3 but some people are at higher risk, including people who use drugs, injected or not injected, people experiencing unstable housing, men having sex with men, and people who travel to countries where Hepatitis A is common.3

· Foodborne outbreaks of Hepatitis A are occurring in the United States and globally. Contamination of food with the Hepatitis A virus can happen where food is harvested or produced or where food is prepared and served, for example by food handlers infected with the Hepatitis A virus.3

Join me in a recent interview with Dr. Len Friedland,

Vice President and Director, Scientific Affairs and Public Health, Vaccines, North America, GSK as he discussed Hepatitis A and it’s symptoms, those at risk and prevention.

See the entire interview here:

Vaccinations are one encouragement by Dr. Len Friedland, but not comfortable for all.

Just know good sanitary practices by washing our hands carefully when around sick people, washing our hands carefully when handling food and drink and keeping a distance from those who have signs and symptoms of any illness are noted as very good practices to follow.

For more information on Hepatitis A, visit CDC.gov/vaccines



Dr. Len Friedland is Vice President and Director, Scientific Affairs and Public Health, Vaccines, North America at GSK. He is also a licensed pediatrician in the state of Pennsylvania. Dr. Friedland has held many positions in clinical research and development with GSK since 2003, specializing in infectious disease vaccination. Prior to his work at GSK, Dr. Friedland was Division Chief, Pediatric Emergency Medicine at Temple University School of Medicine. Dr. Friedland studied medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York and conducted his residency in pediatrics at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and his fellowship in pediatric emergency medicine at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, also in Philadelphia. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Alternate Industry Representative to the FDA Vaccines and Related Biologics Product Advisory Committee, and the Industry Representative Member on the Department of Health and Human Services National Vaccine Advisory Committee. He has published over 45 peer-reviewed articles as well as book chapters on healthcare and vaccination topics during his career.  


  1. CDC https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/worldhepday.htm
  2. CDC https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/outbreaks/hepatitisaoutbreaks.htm
  3. CDC https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/hav/afaq.htm#overview
  4. CDC https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/index.htm
  5. CDC MMWR https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6919e2.htm?s_cid=mm6919e2_w
  6. CDC https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pandemic-guidance/index.html



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Cynthia Tait

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