The Chattanooga-Hamilton County Health Department is reporting an increase in hepatitis A cases. As of June 22, 2018, there have been 5 confirmed cases of hepatitis A infection in Hamilton County, Tennessee in the past two months.
Health officials say 0 to 1 case is reported annually.
In Tennessee, 52 hepatitis A cases, including 26 hospitalizations have been reported in the state since Dec. 1, 2017, many of which are tied to a large multi-state outbreak that began in early 2017.
Over the last five years, Tennessee has seen an average of 13 cases per year, often associated with travel to countries where hepatitis A is common.
Hepatitis A is a vaccine-preventable, communicable disease of the liver caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV). It is usually transmitted person-to-person through the fecal-oral route or consumption of contaminated food or water. Hepatitis A is a self-limited disease that does not result in chronic infection.
In the Tennessee outbreak, transmission is presumed to occur person-to-person and through recreational (injection and non-injection) drug use.
Hepatitis A vaccine is extremely effective. The first dose of the two dose series will protect most people for several years. The two dose series is all that is needed for a lifetime; it does not require booster doses.
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