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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE November 28, 2018
The Shelby County Health Department Responds to Hepatitis A CasesThree Cases Now Reported in Shelby County
SHELBY COUNTY, TN – The Shelby County Health Department is investigating and aggressively working to contain hepatitis A now that three cases have been reported in the county during the month of November. The cases are suspected to be associated with an outbreak of the disease in other regions of the state. This year, there have been 491 cases reported in Tennessee. The majority of cases have been in Nashville and Chattanooga. One patient has reportedly died of the illness in Tennessee.
Hepatitis A is usually transmitted from person to person through contact with contaminated feces or consumption of contaminated food or water. Symptoms include fever, abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea or vomiting, dark urine, weight loss and yellow skin and eyes. Those most at-risk for hepatitis A are recreational drug users, men who have sex with men, the recently incarcerated, and people experiencing homelessness.
“The Shelby County Health Department is investigating all persons who may have been in contact with the hepatitis A patients during their infectious period and offering them free vaccinations against the virus. If given within 14 days of exposure, the vaccine is highly effective in preventing infection,” said Health Director Alisa Haushalter. “Additionally, the Health Department is offering free hepatitis A vaccinations to populations who are especially at-risk for hepatitis A.”
Anyone who believes they may be at risk may receive a free hepatitis A vaccination at any of the following public health clinics, without an appointment, Monday-Friday, between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.
Hepatitis A vaccinations may also be obtained at primary care providers.
“We encourage anyone in the high-risk groups to be vaccinated as soon as possible. We are partnering with other organizations and health care providers to assist in educating and vaccinating as many at-risk people in Shelby County as possible,” said Alisa Haushalter.
The hepatitis A vaccine is not recommended for the general public at this time.
Anyone with questions about hepatitis A or the Health Department’s response may call our hotline number at 1-833-943-1658.