Free Hepatitis A vaccinations available following rise in Pearl River Co. cases

Free Hepatitis A vaccinations available following rise in Pearl River Co. cases
(Source: Gray Media)

PEARL RIVER COUNTY, Miss. (WLOX) - Health officials are taking action after a recent increase in the number of hepatitis A infections in Pearl River County. The Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) will be offering free hepatitis A vaccinations to those at risk as part of an ongoing effort to control the spread of the disease statewide.

The free vaccinations will be available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday, December 4th through Friday, December 6th at the Pearl River County Health Department located at 7547 Highway 11 North, in Carriere.

Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease that can be spread when a person ingests the virus through food or drink that is contaminated with the feces of an infected person or through close personal contact (including sexual contact) with an infected person; and sharing or handling objects with someone who is infected.

Symptoms of hepatitis A include nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting; jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes); and stomach pain, low appetite and fever.

Persons at risk for hepatitis A infection should consider vaccination during this special clinic. You may be at risk if you have been in close contact with someone who has hepatitis A or if you know someone with hepatitis A infection.

Other at risk who should get this vaccination include:

  • Drug users
  • Those recently incarcerated
  • The homeless or those in unstable housing
  • Men who have sex with men
  • Close contacts with anyone in these groups

Mississippi is one of numerous states nationwide that has seen a sharp increase in the number of hepatitis A cases in recent months. Since April, Mississippi has reported 82 cases of the illness. Compare that to 2018, when there were only 13 cases for the entire year.

Mississippi is one of numerous states nationwide that has seen a sharp increase in the number of hepatitis A cases in recent months. Since April, Mississippi has reported 82 cases of the illness.
Mississippi is one of numerous states nationwide that has seen a sharp increase in the number of hepatitis A cases in recent months. Since April, Mississippi has reported 82 cases of the illness. (Source: Mississippi State Department of Health)

Hepatitis A can be prevented through a vaccine. Other prevention measures include practicing strong hygiene habits such as thoroughly washing your hands after using the bathroom.

For more information on hepatitis A, visit the MSDH website at HealthyMS.com/hepA.

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