News from Hepatitis Week of Sept. 14, 2003 / Vol. 3 No. 37
Hepatitis A Outbreak Seen Linked to "Jam" Band Concerts

Several young adults who attended outdoor music concerts involving "jam" bands during the summer have developed hepatitis A, according to a report in the September 5 edition of the Morbidity and Mortality Report.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 25 cases of hepatitis A had been reported as of September 2 among residents of nine states, including Arizona, California, Colorado, Indiana, Michigan, New York, Oregon, Tennessee and Wisconsin.

The CDC said most of the cases involved young adults who attended concerts involving such groups during the spring and summer in which attendances ranged from 1,200 to 82,000 persons. The average age of the people infected was 23.

The bands playing at these concerts attract fans who follow their favorite groups from one venue to another. Attendees often spend the night in campgrounds where the conditions are sometimes unsanitary and purchase food from unofficial and unlicensed food vendors.

The CDC said crowded conditions, a lack of hand-washing facilities and poor sanitation might contribute to the potential for disease transmission at these concerts.

Although investigations are underway to identify how the infections occurred, the CDC said several patients have reported close contact with other ill patients.

The three bands that most of the infected persons followed completed their summer concert tours in early August. However, fall tours are scheduled to begin in September, according to the CDC.

The CDC is advising future concert attendees to wash their hands frequently with soap and water, particularly after using the bathroom and before eating; to cook their food and drink only potable water; and to avoid food or drugs that could have been prepared under unsanitary conditions or handled by an infected person.

CDC has asked that medical providers to inquire if any young to middle-aged adults that are diagnosed with hepatitis A have attended a "jam" band concert and to report any such cases.

Other sources: Morbidity and Mortality Report, 52(35); 844-845