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Communicable Disease and Immunization Updates

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Keeping providers informed of public health trends

Our staff provide information about important public health trends. One of the ways we do this is with our Communicable Disease and Immunization Update. This report has information on vaccination, outbreaks, emerging conditions and more.

Check out our latest issue

April 2019

  • Measles Outbreak
  • New Perinatal Hepatitis C Effort
  • Acute Flaccid Myelitis
  • Hepatitis A: Outbreaks & New Recommendations
  • Selected Notifiable Conditions Data

Check out our past issues

April 2017

  • Syphilis Update
  • Tuberculosis Screening Recommendations 
  • HPV Vaccine - New Recommendations

May 2016

  • Zika Virus Outbreak
  • Congenital Syphilis Update
  • Pertussis in Pierce County and Tdap During Pregnancy
  • Reported Cases of Selected Diseases

September 2015

  • Flu Season 2015-2016
  • Antibiotic Prescriptions for Diarrhea in Pierce County
  • Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis for HIV-PrEP
  • Reported Cases of Selected Diseases

March 2015

  • Tdap Recommendations for Pregnant Women
  • Acellular Pertussis Vaccine—Duration of Immunity
  • 2015 Measles Outbreak
  • Reported Cases of Selected Diseases for January 2015

September 2014

  • Flu Vaccine Recommendations 2014-2015
  • Chikungunya Virus
  • Ebola Hemorragic Fever Outbreak
  • 2014 Measles Update
  • Reported Cases of Selected Diseases for July 2014

October 2013

  • Preparing for the 2013–2014 Influenza Season
  • 2012–2013 Influenza Season Recap
  • Vibrio parahaemolyticus
  • Reported Cases of Selected Diseases for August 2013

August 2013

  • Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV)
  • Chronic Hepatitis C Among Baby Boomers
  • H3N2v Influenza
  • August is National Immunization Awareness Month
  • Reported Cases of Selected Diseases for July 2013

October 2012

  • Pertussis Update
  • Preparing for the Influenza Season 2012-2013
  • Novel Influenza A Virus Associated with Swine
  • Reported Cases of Selected Notifiable Diseases

January 2012

  • STEC Infections
  • Pertussis Update
  • Immunization Educational Events and Trainings
  • Reported Cases of Selected Diseases--December 201


Related communicable disease articles for providers:

Health Advisory: Hepatitis A Cases in People Living Homeless

April 30, 2019

Hepatitis A cases recently occurred in people living homeless in Washington. Large hepatitis A outbreaks are occurring in other areas of the country. Most cases are among people living homeless and/or using drugs. Pierce County currently does not have any cases.

Requested Actions

  • Give hepatitis A vaccine to unvaccinated patients living homeless and/or using drugs.
  • Suspect hepatitis A in patients—especially those living homeless and/or using drugs—with acute onset of jaundice, markedly elevated liver function tests or other symptoms of acute viral hepatitis.
  • Perform serologic testing on suspect cases—hepatitis A IgM or acute hepatitis panel.
  • Immediately report suspect cases to (253) 798-6410.


Hepatitis A can quickly spread from person to person in crowded conditions lacking sanitary facilities, like where people may live homeless. Hepatitis A causes higher rates of hospitalizations and deaths in people living homeless, likely due to comorbid conditions like chronic hepatitis B or C or alcohol-related cirrhosis.

Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recently recommended routine hepatitis A immunization for people living homeless. One dose of hepatitis A vaccine offers very effective protection within 2 to 4 weeks. For full protection, a second dose is recommended 6 months later.

The virus spreads through infected feces. The incubation period is 2 to 6 weeks. People typically become ill 3 to 4 weeks after exposure. People are contagious 14 days before onset of jaundice until 7 days after onset. Infants and very young children typically show no symptoms but can spread the virus.

Household and close contacts should receive post-exposure prophylaxis with hepatitis A vaccine or immune globulin. Immediately report individual cases to (253) 798-6410 so we can coordinate post-exposure prophylaxis for close contacts as soon as possible.

The last case of hepatitis A in Pierce County occurred September 2018. Pierce County had 0 to 4 cases each year since 2011. In recent years, Washington typically has less than 50 cases each year. However, should a case occur in crowded conditions lacking sanitary facilities, it can quickly spread.

For more information, see our hepatitis information for healthcare providers page or call us at (253) 798-6410.


Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices for Use of Hepatitis A Vaccine for Persons Experiencing Homelessness. MMWR / February 15, 2019 / 68(6);153–156.


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