SHELBY CO., Tenn. - One person from Shelby County has died in a multi-state Hepatitis A outbreak.
The Shelby County Health Department said more than 2,200 cases have been confirmed across Tennessee. Dozens of those are in Shelby County.
Thirteen people across Tennessee have died of Hepatitis A since the outbreak started near the end of 2017.
Dr. Alisa Haushalter is the director of the Shelby County Health Department. She told FOX13 Hepatitis A normally does not cause death, but this particular strain is very strong.
“Given the likelihood of death or hospitalization, we don’t want the numbers to grow,” Haushalter said. “We want to contain this outbreak before we have more deaths in our community.”
The current outbreak has been concentrated among certain populations, including the incarcerated, those experiencing homelessness, recreational drug users, and men who have sex with other men.
“It’s what we call 'oral-fecal spread,' which means you have contaminated hands and then you touch somebody else or touch food and it spreads from there,” said Haushalter.
If you are in one of those at-risk groups, the health department is offering free vaccines.
Health officials said the best prevention is by simply washing your hands.
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