The following statement comes from Dr. Wayne Allgaier, M.D. of the National Council for Adoption. We want to assure that families are informed of this new policy and development.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has released a new policy statement aimed at decreasing the possible spread of hepatitis A from young children adopted from endemic countries where children are not immunized against hepatitis A (as they are here in the U.S.). Most of these children are asymptomatic, that is, appear to be perfectly healthy, but can spread the virus to others, especially to those with whom they have frequent contact (close relatives, baby sitters, etc.). Some of these contacts have become seriously ill.
For this reason, the American Academy of Pediatrics is recommending that all close contacts of newly adopted children from countries with endemic hepatitis A be vaccinated prior to the child’s arrival in the U.S.
The policy statement can be found at http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2011/09/21/peds.2011-1495
If you are interested in more details about why they came to this decision, go to http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2011/09/21/peds.2011-1495.full.pdf
A map showing which countries are in question may be found at http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr5507a1.htm#fig4.