FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Scott County Proactive with Hepatitis A Immunizations
Scott County, IN—The Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) has been investigating an outbreak of acute hepatitis A virus since November of 2017. On average, Indiana has approximately 20 cases of hepatitis A in a 12 month period.
Indiana is one of several states experiencing a hepatitis A outbreak, with outbreak-related cases being confirmed across the state. Experts indicate that the transmission is occurring from person to person, because no contaminated commercial food product has been identified. According to the CDC, populations who are homeless, transient, incarcerated or use illicit drugs and their close direct contacts are at increased risk of exposure to hepatitis A.
The CDC recommends washing your hands with soap and water after going to the bathroom, after changing diapers and before preparing meals for yourself and others. They advise individuals not to report to work or school if they are experiencing symptoms of hepatitis A, which include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, tiredness, stomach ache, fever, dark-colored (cola) urine, light-colored stool and jaundice (yellowing of skin and eyes). Symptoms may take as many as 50 days from exposure to appear.
In order to reduce the risk of hepatitis A transmission, the Scott County Health Department has been proactive in immunizing Scott County first responders, school staff, restaurant workers, and other county residents, among others. Scott County residents who have not received two doses of hepatitis A vaccine yet may come to the health department or ask their healthcare providers.
For over three years, the Scott County Health Department has been vaccinating those visiting the One Stop Shop and Syringe Service Program, as well as those with substance use disorder and illicit drug users, since these populations have a greater risk of exposure. For nearly 8 months now, they have also been vaccinating in the Scott County jail, another high risk of exposure population. The health department completed a mass vaccination clinic in the jail 8 months ago and returns every two weeks to vaccinate new inmates.
The Scott County Health Department has given nearly 3000 adult hepatitis A vaccines in 2018. In order to make sure they reach as many residents as possible, the health department held off-site vaccination clinics in both Scott County School Districts 1 and 2, vaccinating most of the staff, in addition to vaccinating those who have been to soup kitchens and dinners where the homeless and others come into contact with food. They are also targeting the homeless, an additional risk exposure group.
To date, Scott County has had 5 cases of hepatitis A, with most of these linked to cases outside the county. Currently, there have been no food worker cases reported in the county. The focus on hepatitis A community education has included sending letters to food establishments, as well as social media campaigns about hepatitis A transmission. The infographic below has been helpful in community education. For more information on receiving the vaccination, please call the Scott County Health Department at 812-752-8455 or go to their office at 1296 N. Gardner Street, Scottsburg, Indiana, between 8 am and 4 pm.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE