According to Metro Public Health Department officials, two more cases of Hepatitis A have been confirmed in Nashville, raising the total number of cases since December to 16.
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.
Nashville's outbreak was reported on May 25. Health officials have been working to vaccinate people who may be at risk.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, those at greatest risk of exposure to hepatitis A in the current outbreaks include:
- Illicit drug users (not just injection drug use)
- Men who have sexual contact with men
- Individuals experiencing homelessness
Hepatitis A can also be spread from close personal contact with an infected person such as through sex or caring for someone who is ill.
MPHD continues to work with TDH and CDC on testing specimen collected from those confirmed as having hep A.
Last week MPHD received confirmation from the CDC that genotype test results from one of the 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 Health Centers to the three risk groups. Based on current confirmed cases, the immediate priority includes men who have sexual contact with men and individuals who use illicit drugs (injection and non-injection).
MPHD received an initial shipment of 1,000 doses of the hep A vaccine from TDH two weeks ago. TDH provided an additional 750 doses of vaccine today with more available as needed.