By NewsDesk    @infectiousdiseasenews

Since the hepatitis A outbreak began in December 2017, Tennessee state health officials now put the outbreak case count at 2,022. Of this total, six out of ten cases required hospitalization and 10 deaths were reported.

The Mid-Cumberland region has seen the most cases with more than 400, followed by East region with 386 and Chattanooga-Hamilton with 252.

The Tennessee Department of Health (TDH) is working with local health officials and other partners to respond to this outbreak. Those considered at high risk for hepatitis A infection in this outbreak include people who abuse drugs, people experiencing homelessness and men who have sex with men.

Hepatitis A can be prevented by a safe and effective vaccine. People who believe they have been exposed to hepatitis A or are experiencing homelessness, use injection or non-injection drugs, are men who have sex with men or had contact with someone who has hepatitis A should contact a health care provider about hepatitis A vaccine.

Hepatitis A is a contagious, vaccine-preventable liver infection that is spread in the feces of infected people.  Most people become sick about a month after being infected. The illness can range from mild to serious illness and in some situations, result in death. 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.