hepatitis A

Jason Moon / NHPR

New Hampshire is in the midst of an outbreak of hepatitis A.

Since November, 142 people have been diagnosed with hepatitis A in the state and one person has died. In an average year in New Hampshire, just 7 people get the virus.


CDC.gov

In an effort to halt an ongoing hepatitis A outbreak, health clinics in Manchester, Nashua, Somersworth, and Concord are offering free vaccines to people without health insurance.

Department of Health and Human Services

New Hampshire health officials are warning that a recent outbreak of hepatitis A in the state is accelerating.

The Department of Health and Human Services first announced the outbreak in February, when 13 people had been infected since last November.

Now, DHHS says that number has jumped to 79, including one person who has died. The average number of cases over an entire year in New Hampshire is seven.

Dr. Partha Sarathi Sahana/Flickr

Vaccination safeguards both personal and community health. But a recent outbreak of the measles in Washington state is revealing the necessity for high vaccination rates. Every state allows medical exemptions and many allow religious exemptions. But Washington state, along with about 20 other states, allows for a philosophical exemption for families who disagree with the mandate to vaccinate.

New Hampshire allows no such exemption — and the Granite State boasts one of the highest vaccination rates nationally. But the number of religious exemptions is on the rise. On the verge of a Hepatitis A outbreak in the state, we talk to medical providers about vaccines in early childhood and what risks unvaccinated youth pose to the greater community.