May 3, 2019
Regarding the Hepatitis A Outbreak May 2018-present:
The Chattanooga-Hamilton County Health Department would like to thank its government, non-profit, and private partners for their efforts in assisting in the hepatitis A outbreak response. Since May 2018, our community has been battling the outbreak, which has seen more than 170 confirmed cases*. Typically, Hamilton County sees 0-1 cases per year. Thanks to numerous partnerships, the health department has delivered over 8,400 doses* of hepatitis A vaccine free of charge to those most at risk. Partnerships allow the health department to expand its vaccination outreach efforts. Without them, many of the high-risk groups, such as those who use drugs, the homeless, men who have sex with men, and the incarcerated would not be reached.
The health department would also like to thank local residents for making the effort to get the hepatitis A vaccine. We understand it takes time out of your day, but in doing so you have contributed to the pool of vaccinated people throughout our community, which makes it very difficult for the virus to spread, and helps protect those around you who are not able to get the vaccine. Furthermore, liking and sharing our social media posts have helped reach thousands more with our messages of protection and prevention.
The health department is grateful to serve such an involved and proactive community of partners and residents. We continue to offer the vaccine free of charge on a walk-in basis at all our locations (our homeless healthcare center is reserved for those who are homeless). Readers can continue to track the number of infections and find reliable information about the disease on our website Health.HamiltonTN.org. While the outbreak is not contained and we cannot predict when it will end, the number of hepatitis A infections would undoubtedly be much higher without the combined efforts of all involved.
*Update 7-8-19: total cases reported 253, total doses vaccine given 10,142.