Nashville, TN health officials have confirmed 150 cases of hepatitis A have been reported in the city since December 2017.

Hepatitis A Vaccine Image/National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
Hepatitis A Vaccine
Image/National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

Metro Public Health Department (MPHD) officials continue to work to reach three at-risk groups. Those at greatest risk of exposure to hepatitis A include: People who use drugs (not just injection drug use),   men who have sexual contact with men and individuals experiencing homelessness.

The Health Department and our community partners have vaccinated more 7,400 people in Nashville since the outbreak was announced in late May. The total vaccinated does not include vaccine given by private providers.

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.

Upcoming Vaccination Outreach includes:
-11/15 Rescue Mission (Men’s campus) 3:30pm-5:30pm
-12/13 Room in the Inn 9:00am-12:00pm
-12/20 Rescue Mission (Men’s campus) 3:30pm-5:30pm
-12/27 Room in the Inn 9:00am -12:00pm

 Hepatitis A is manifested here as icterus, or jaundice of the conjunctivae and facial skin/CDC
Hepatitis A is manifested here as icterus, or jaundice of the conjunctivae and facial skin/CDC

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 are drug users.

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.