Introduction: Outbreaks of hepatitis A virus (HAV) have previously been described in men who have sex with men (MSM). BASHH only recommends HAV vaccination for MSM during outbreaks. A UK cluster of HAV cases was identified and, by 27/2/2017, London had 45 probable and confirmed cases in MSM. London sexual health commissioning is in flux with new arrangements imminent.
Methods: For individual notified cases, Health Protection Teams (HPT) routinely assess source, offer infection control advice to the case and organise vaccination of household and sexual contacts. A London outbreak control team (OCT) comprised epidemiologists, commissioners and providers of immunisation and sexual health services, health promotion partners and communications. The OCT scoped possible additional interventions to control the outbreak.
Results: The OCT recommended: Awareness raising re risk behaviour: Distribute a nationally commissioned leaflet with safer sex advice to cases and to genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinics, plus relevant content on digital platforms.
Liaison with providers, commissioners: Inform GPs. Survey current practice in GUM for HAV immunisation. Vaccinate MSM opportunistically in GUM clinics (if had a new or casual partner in last 3 months).
Link with existing health promotion networks: Working with gay venues, to get understanding and cooperation.
Set up vaccination clinics near the popular venues
Discussion: It is challenging to set up an immunisation programme in a large city with complex commissioning relationships at short notice. Consideration should be given to vaccination between outbreaks to reduce the proportion susceptible, or ‘outbreak ready’ plans included in sexual health commissioning arrangements.
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