The number of cases of hepatitis A in Colorado has increased to almost 300 people, with at least two deaths from the contagious liver infection, according to data from the state health department.
The rise in hepatitis A cases, which began in Colorado in 2018, is part of a larger outbreak that has sickened at least 28,609 people, killing more than 280, across the nation, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
One of the deaths in Colorado occurred in Denver, where local health officials are working to curb the number of cases through a massive vaccination campaign. The other death was in Arapahoe County in September.
Cases of Hepatitis A have also appeared in Boulder, Pueblo, Eagle and Montezuma counties. So far, there are 299 cases statewide, according to data from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
More than 18,200 individuals in the state have received hepatitis A vaccinations since October 2018, according to a news release.
Those at risk of getting hepatitis A include people experiencing homelessness and those with substance-use issues. Individuals who are incarcerated are also at risk. These populations have less access to preventive health care and may have poor nutrition or crowded living conditions, according to the news release.
The illness spreads when a person unknowingly ingests the virus via food, objects or drinks that are contaminated, the health department said.
Colorado’s hepatitis A outbreak grows to almost 300 cases, 2 deaths