The hepatitis A outbreak is only getting worse

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Since December 2017 the number of confirmed hepatitis A cases in Nashville has grown to 119.

For comparison, the number at the end of June was 34 and by mid-August it hit 74.

Prior to this outbreak, the annual average for this area is just 2 cases.

Specialists have been warning for months that hepititis A is difficult to contain because people can be infectious long before any symptoms or evidence of physical ailment present themselves. “However many cases there are right now, more people are infected already,” Dr. William Schaffner told The Tennessean. “It can be a matter of three to four weeks before you get sick, so nobody knows your infected, but you can still transmit the virus.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), those at greatest risk of exposure to hepatitis A in the current outbreaks include:

 Illicit drug users (not just injection drug use)
Men who have sexual contact with men
Individuals experiencing homelessness

Hepatitis A is a vaccine-preventable liver disease caused by the hepatitis A virus. Common symptoms include: fever, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, jaundice (yellowing of eyes and skin), and clay-colored stools. The disease can be severe in some people, possibly requiring hospitalization. Most recover completely within a few weeks. Hepatitis A usually spreads when a person unknowingly ingests the virus from objects, food, or drinks contaminated by small, undetected amounts of stool from an infected person. Hepatitis A can also spread from close personal contact with an infected person such as through sex or caring for someone who is ill. The best way to prevent hepatitis A is through vaccination. For more information visit https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/index.htm

The Metro Public Health Department operates three health centers open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday:

East Health Center, 1015 East Trinity Lane
Lentz Health Center, 2500 Charlotte Avenue
Woodbine Health Center, 224 Oriel Avenue

An agreement with Neighborhood Health has been established to provide hepatitis A vaccine to those in the three at-risk groups. Neighborhood Health locations and hours of operation are as follows:

Downtown Clinic, 526 8th Avenue South (adjacent to the Room in the Inn campus)
8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday

Madison Clinic, 601 W. Due West Avenue
8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., Monday through Friday and 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Saturday

My House Clinic, 442 Metroplex Dr. Building D, Suite 200
8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Thursday and 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Friday

Cayce Clinic, 617 South 8th St.
7am to 4pm Monday through Friday

Cleveland Park Medical & Dental Clinic, 1223 Dickerson Pike
8am to 5pm Monday through Friday

Eastside Medical & Dental Clinic, 905 Main St.
8am to 5pm Monday through Friday

Napier Medical & Dental Clinic, 107 Charles E. Davis Blvd.
7am to 4pm Monday through Friday

Walk-ins are welcome.  Appointments can be made with Neighborhood Health by calling (615) 227-3000.