(SHELBY COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT) – Shelby County has been affected by a multi-state outbreak of hepatitis A that has sickened more than 1,800 in Tennessee since early last year. Ten Tennesseans have reportedly died of the illness. Here in Shelby County, there have been 27 cases and no reported deaths.
The hepatitis A outbreak has been concentrated among certain vulnerable populations, including the incarcerated, those experiencing homelessness, and recreational drug users. However, any unvaccinated person who is exposed to the hepatitis A virus may develop the illness.
Hepatitis A is a virus that causes inflammation of the liver and 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.
“The Shelby County Health Department strongly encourages anyone who experiences the symptoms of hepatitis A to seek medical care and testing,” said Health Director Alisa Haushalter. “Prompt treatment may prevent more serious complications, and knowing you have hepatitis A allows your family and close contacts to receive preventative vaccination. If given within 14 days of exposure, the hepatitis A vaccine is highly effective in preventing the illness.”
The Health Department is offering free hepatitis A vaccinations to populations who are especially at-risk. 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.
- Cawthon Public Health Clinic
- 1000 Haynes, 38114
- Collierville Public Health Clinic (Tuesday and Thursday, 9:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.)
- 167 Washington St., 38017
- Hickory Hill Public Health Clinic
- 6590 Kirby Center Cove, 38118
- Immunization Clinic
- 814 Jefferson, Rm. 216, 38105
- Millington Public Health Clinic
- 8225 Highway 51 North, 38053
- Packer Clinic
- 814 Jefferson, Room 221, 38105
- Shelby Crossing Public Health Clinic
- 6170 Macon Road, 38133
- Southland Mall Public Health Clinic
- 1287 Southland Mall, 38116
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. The Health Department is conducting outreach vaccination efforts among the vulnerable populations and also partnering with other organizations and health care providers to vaccinate as many at-risk people in Shelby County as possible,” said Dr. Haushalter.
For more information about hepatitis A, visit our website: http://www.shelbytnhealth.com/.