Hepatitis A at Jam Band Concerts Alert (cont.)

Comments: Knowing nothing about jam band concerts, we searched on Google and learned that this weekend alone there are events scheduled in Canton, IA; San Diego and San Rafael, CA ; The Tieton River Bed, WA; Marion, IN; Xenia, OH; Geneva, MN; Eau Claire, WI; Hartford, CT; Pulaski, Deansboro, and Sherman, NY; Lewisville, NC; Quarryville, PA; Elkins, WV; and Gore, VA.

While the Department of Homeland Security is focused on smallpox and other unusual forms of bioterrorism, we have hepatitis A traveling about the USA coast-to-coast from one jam band concert to the next. Coming soon to a concert near you!

For additional information please visit the following MedicineNet.com areas:

Barbara K. Hecht, Ph.D.
Frederick Hecht, M.D.
Medical Editors, MedicineNet.com

Public Health Dispatch: Multistate Outbreak of Hepatitis A Among Young Adult Concert Attendees --- United States, 2003

In July 2003, a cluster of hepatitis A cases was identified among young adults who had attended outdoor concert and camping events featuring various "jam bands." As of September 2, a total of 25 cases have been reported among residents of nine states (Arizona, California, Colorado, Indiana, Michigan, New York, Oregon, Tennessee, and Wisconsin). The majority of cases were among young adults who attended concerts during the spring and summer. The median age of infected persons was 23 years (range: 17--44 years); 14 (56%) were male.

The bands performing at these concerts and festivals attract fans who travel from one concert to another, sometimes continuously over several months. Concerts often are multiday events involving camping on established or impromptu campgrounds, and sanitary conditions sometimes are poor. Unofficial food vendors are common at these events, and many are concert attendees. Attendance at the events has ranged from 1,200 to 82,000 persons. At large outdoor gatherings, crowded conditions, a lack of hand-washing facilities, and poor sanitation might contribute to the potential for disease transmission (1,2).

Epidemiologic and laboratory investigations are under way to identify potential sources of hepatitis A virus infection and modes of transmission. Several patients have reported close contact with other ill patients during the incubation period, suggesting that person-to-person transmission might play an important role in the spread of the infection. On the basis of early findings in this investigation, vaccination and education campaigns were held at two recent concert events. Approximately 300 attendees were vaccinated, and several contacts were administered postexposure prophylaxis.

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