The Chattanooga Public Library Downtown Branch is hosting the Chattanooga - Hamilton County Health Department to offer Hepatitis A vaccinations to the homeless population on Wednesday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. No appointment is necessary.
The Tennessee Department of Health has identified an increase in Hepatitis A cases across the state, many of which are tied to a large multi-state outbreak that began in early 2017.
According to the Center for Disease Control, while anyone can get Hepatitis A, certain groups of people are at higher risk, such as:
• People with direct contact with someone who has Hepatitis A;
• Travelers to countries where Hepatitis A is common;
• Men who have sexual contact with men;
• People who use drugs, both injection and non-injection drugs;
• Household members or caregivers of a recent adoptee from countries where Hepatitis A is common;
• People with clotting factor disorders, such as hemophilia.
Hepatitis A is a highly contagious liver infection caused by the Hepatitis A virus. It can range from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe illness lasting several months. Although rare, Hepatitis A can cause death in some people. 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.
The best way to prevent Hepatitis A is through vaccination. To get the full benefit of the Hepatitis A vaccine, more than one shot is needed. The number and timing of these shots depends on the type of vaccine you are given. Practicing good hand hygiene – including thoroughly washing hands after using the bathroom, changing diapers and before preparing or eating food – plays an important role in preventing the spread of hepatitis A.
For more information about Hepatitis A, visit the Tennessee Department of Health or Center for Disease Control websites.
Persons and healthcare providers with questions or needing more information on Hepatitis A can contact the Chattanooga - Hamilton County Health Department at 423-209-8000.