16 Confirmed Cases in Nashville
Metro Public Health Department (MPHD) officials continue to investigate and respond to a hepatitis A outbreak in Nashville. Health officials today reported two new hep A cases, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 16 since December 2017.
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. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 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
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.
MPHD operates three health centers open 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday:
East Health Center, 1015 East Trinity Lane
Lentz Health Center, 2500 Charlotte Avenue
Woodbine Health Center, 224 Oriel Avenue
An agreement with Neighborhood Health has been established to provide hepatitis A vaccine to those in the three at-risk groups. Neighborhood Health locations and hours of operation are as follows:
Downtown Clinic, 526 8th Avenue South (adjacent to the Room in the Inn campus)
8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday
Madison Clinic, 601 W. Due West Avenue
8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., Monday through Friday and 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Saturday
My House Clinic, 442 Metroplex Dr. Building D, Suite 200
8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Thursday and 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Friday
Walk-ins are welcome. Appointments can be made with Neighborhood Health by calling 615-227-3000.
According to MPHD officials, a total of 110 doses of vaccine have been provided at the three Health Department Health Centers and the three Neighborhood Health locations.
MPHD has hepatitis A vaccine available for children and adults. Since 2006, the CDC has recommended all young children routinely be vaccinated against hepatitis A, and the vaccine has been required for daycare and kindergarten entry in Tennessee since 2011. All children under 19 years old who do not have private insurance coverage for vaccines, including uninsured and TennCare-eligible children, may be vaccinated through the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program by their health care provider or at any local health department. The cost for vaccine is $40.00 for children not eligible for the VFC program who are 18 years old and younger.
The vaccine can also be found at area health care providers in Nashville for those with insurance. Many insurance plans cover the costs of hepatitis A vaccine without a deductible or co-pay, if administered by an in-network health care provider.
MPHD issued a health alert two weeks to health care providers in Nashville about the current hepatitis A outbreak, a reminder about the symptoms, and how they should report cases to MPHD.
MPHD has initiated a community awareness campaign focusing on outbreak updates and steps to follow to prevent exposure to hepatitis A. Updates and prevention messaging, such as the importance of hand washing and the use of a vaccine to protect against the virus for those at risk, can be found at http://www.nashville.gov/Health-Department.
MPHD produced handwashing messages that are currently running on video screens at the Nashville International Airport’s baggage claim area reminding music festival goers about the importance of handwashing to stop the spread of germs.
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.
For more information visit https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/index.htm.
The mission of the Metro Public Health Department (MPHD) is to protect, improve, and sustain health and well-being for all people in Metropolitan Nashville. More than 450 Health Department employees provide essential public health services for the resident population of more than 600,000 people, with a total Department budget of more than $60 million. Our three public health centers, nutrition center, and Metro Animal Care and Control provide services and programs throughout a diverse and growing community.
As Nashville’s local Health Department, we connect people to essential public health services, we enforce health regulations, and we lead and participate in collaborative efforts to create healthy conditions for everyone in Nashville. To keep up with the latest information about MPHD visit our website at health.nashville.gov or follow us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/MPHDNashville) and Twitter (@NashvilleHealth).