Tennesseans urged to get hepatitis A vaccine amid outbreak

Posted at 2:30 PM, Aug 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-20 15:32:57-04

(WTVF) — The Tennessee Health Department is urging those most at risk for hepatitis A to get vaccinated amid an outbreak that caused the death of 13 people.

Hepatitis A is a serious liver infection that can be spread through contact with feces or consumption of contaminated food or water.

More than 2,000 cases of the infection have been confirmed in the state.

“It’s critical for people in these high-risk groups to receive the hepatitis A vaccine to protect themselves and others around them,” said Tennessee Immunization Program Medical Director Michelle Fiscus, MD, FAAP. “We know this vaccine is safe and effective.”

The health department said those most at risk for contracting hepatitis A are drug users, men in the gay community and those experiencing homelessness. Local health department locations are offering free vaccinations for hepatitis A for people in these high-risk groups.

Other ways to help prevent the spread of infection are by washing your hands with soap and water after using the bathroom, before eating and before preparing or serving food.