Vaccines still work: Estimated Medicaid costs associated with hepatitis A outbreak

What is already known about this topic?

Widespread outbreaks of hepatitis A among persons who use illicit drugs (injection and noninjection) have increased in recent years. Hepatitis A is a vaccine-preventable disease.

What is added by this report?

During January 1, 2018–July 31, 2019, hepatitis A–related clinical costs among West Virginia Medicaid beneficiaries ranged from $1.4 million to $5.6 million. Among those with a substance use disorder diagnosis, costs ranged from $1.0 million to $4.4 million.

What are the implications for public health practice?

In addition to insight on preventing illness, hospitalization, and death, the results from this study highlight the potential financial cost jurisdictions might incur when Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommendations for hepatitis A vaccination, especially among persons who use illicit drugs, are not followed.

Estimated Medicaid costs associated with hepatitis A outbreak—West Virginia, 2018-2019

Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report

Samantha J. Batdorf, MPH1; Megan G. Hofmeister, MD2; Tamara C. Surtees, MPH3; Erica D. Thomasson, PhD1,4; Shannon M. McBee, MPH1; Nathan J. Pauly, PhD5

https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/70/wr/mm7008a2.htm?s_cid=mm7008a2_e&ACSTrackingID=USCDC_921-DM50427&ACSTrackingLabel=This%20Week%20in%20MMWR%20-%20Vol.%2070,%20February%2026,%202021&deliveryName=USCDC_921-DM50427

(Viruses are not cells, but they need to cells to reproduce.)