An Ounce of Prevention

The Northeast Regional Health Office reports seven cases of Hepatitis A have been confirmed in the Mooresburg community of Hawkins County and vaccinations will be offered to all residents of the area on Wednesday and Thursday, May 28 and 29.  The Hepatitis A vaccinations are being offered at no charge at the Slate Hill Baptist Church between noon and 7 p.m. on both days.

Bill Grubb at the Rogersville Review has the lowdown here.

The Hepatitis A virus (HAV) lives in the stools of infected individuals.  Infected stool can be present in small amounts in food and on objects. The  virus is spread: when someone ingests anything that’s contaminated with HAV-infected stool or in water, milk, and foods, especially in shellfish

Because hepatitis A can be a mild infection, particularly in children, it’s possible for some people to be unaware that they have had the illness. In fact, although medical tests show that about 40% of urban Americans have had hepatitis A, only about 5% recall being sick. Although the hepatitis A virus can cause prolonged illness up to 6 months, it typically only causes short-lived illnesses and it does not cause chronic liver disease.

A shot of HAV immune globulin, if given within two weeks of exposure, may help prevent illness in household members of infected persons and in persons who have eaten food prepared by someone with hepatitis A or who have been otherwise exposed.  There are usually no side effects from the shot other than some soreness in the area where the shot was given.  Immune globulin provides only temporary protection for about three months by boosting your immune system.

Last month, Northeast Tennessee Regional Health Office investigated eight cases of acute hepatitis B (serum hepatitis) in Hawkins County.

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