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Hepatitis A Outbreak Update

8/10/2018

74 Confirmed Hepatitis A Cases in Nashville Since December 2017
Health Department Continues Focus on Offering Vaccine to At-Risk Populations

Metro Public Health Department (MPHD) officials today confirmed 74 cases of hepatitis A have occurred in Nashville since December 2017. MPHD continues to work with the Tennessee Department of Health (TDH), as well as other Metro Departments and community organizations in response to the outbreak. Work continues to reach three at-risk groups. Those at greatest risk of exposure to hepatitis A in the current outbreak include:

  • People who use drugs (not just injection drug use)
  • Men who have sexual contact with men
  • Individuals experiencing homelessness

The Health Department has led a hepatitis A vaccine campaign, along with community partners, to vaccinate more than 4,000 people in Nashville over the past two months. Vaccination initiatives will continue in an effort to end the outbreak, including working with organizations that serve the homeless, reaching out to the LGBTQ community, working with the Davidson County Sherriff’s Office to vaccinate DCSO inmates, and efforts to reach those who use drugs.

Large hepatitis A outbreaks have occurred since early 2017 in several states, including ongoing outbreaks in California, Utah, Kentucky, Indiana and West Virginia, spreading from person to person primarily among people who are homeless and people who use illicit drugs.

MPHD is working with TDH and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on testing specimens collected from those confirmed as having hepatitis A. MPHD has received confirmation from the CDC that genotype test results from samples in Nashville matched the strain of hepatitis A found in the recent outbreaks around the country.

MPHD continues to offer free hepatitis A vaccine at all three of its Health Department Centers to the three risk groups. MPHD continues to receive additional doses of hepatitis A vaccine from TDH and more vaccine is available as needed.

MPHD operates three health centers open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday:

  • East Health Center, 1015 East Trinity Lane
  • Lentz Health Center, 2500 Charlotte Ave.
  • Woodbine Health Center, 224 Oriel Ave.

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 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday
  • Madison Clinic, 601 W. Due West Avenue
    8 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday
  • My House Clinic, 442 Metroplex Dr. Building D, Suite 200
    8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Thursday and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday
  • Cayce Clinic, 617 South 8th St.
    7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday
  • Cleveland Park Medical & Dental Clinic, 1223 Dickerson Pike
    8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday
  • Eastside Medical & Dental Clinic, 905 Main St.
    8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday
  • Napier Medical & Dental Clinic, 107 Charles E. Davis Blvd
    7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday

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

The hepatitis A vaccine can also be found at area health care providers in Nashville for those with insurance. Many insurance plans cover the costs of hepatitis A vaccine without a deductible or co-pay, if administered by an in-network health care provider.

MPHD has been sending Health Alerts to health care providers in Nashville about the current hepatitis A outbreak, a reminder about the symptoms, and how they should report cases to MPHD.

MPHD has initiated a community awareness campaign focusing on outbreak updates and steps to follow to prevent exposure to hepatitis A. Updates and prevention messaging, such as the importance of hand washing and the use of a vaccine to protect against the virus for those at risk, can be found at health.nashville.gov.

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 cdc.gov/hepatitis

The mission of the Metro Public Health Department (MPHD) is to protect, improve, and sustain health and wellbeing for all people in Metropolitan Nashville. More than 450 Health Department employees provide essential public health services for the resident population of more than 600,000 people, with a total Department budget of more than $60 million. Our three public health centers, nutrition center, and Metro Animal Care and Control provide services and programs throughout a diverse and growing community.

As Nashville’s local Health Department, we connect people to essential public health services, we enforce health regulations, and we lead and participate in collaborative efforts to create healthy conditions for everyone in Nashville. To keep up with the latest information about MPHD visit our website at health.nashville.gov or follow us on Facebook (facebook.com/MPHDNashville) and Twitter (@NashvilleHealth).