Carroll County Hepatitis-A Outbreak Confirmed; Health Department offering free hep A vaccinations

LaGrange, GA:  Public health officials have confirmed 46 cases of hepatitis A among Carroll County residents this year and are urging vaccination against the highly contagious liver infection for people most at risk of the vaccine-preventable disease, especially illicit (injection and non-injection) drug users and their close contacts. Officials are also encouraging all persons who work in food-service establishments, such as restaurants and cafeterias, to be vaccinated.

A Free Hepatitis A Vaccination and HIV Testing event will be held in Carroll County:

When: Thursday, December 3, 2020.

Where: Carroll County Department of Community Supervision 924 Maple Street, Carrollton, Georgia 30117.

Time: 9:00 am – 1:00 pm

“We are urging individuals with one or more of these risk factors, especially illicit drug use, to get the Hepatitis A vaccine. Additionally, World AIDS Days is being celebrated on Tuesday, December 1. Although, our focus is on Hepatitis A, it is necessary to raise awareness about the ongoing HIV/AIDS pandemic and its impact on our communities. What we know is that individuals at risk for Hepatitis A may also be at risk for HIV and; if left untreated, may subsequently become at-risk for AIDS which is the end stage of the virus without treatment. To this end, we are providing both Hepatitis A vaccines and HIV rapid-testing for free in a one-stop shop,” says Hayla Folden, public information officer for District 4 Public Health.

Those most at risk of hepatitis A include:

illicit (injection and non-injection) drug users,

individuals who have a history of incarceration in jail or prison,

men who have sex with men,

close contacts of people with hepatitis A,

homeless or transient individuals, and

persons with close contact to someone with these risk factors.

If you are not sure whether you should get the hepatitis A vaccine, talk with your doctor about your specific concerns.

Those most at-risk for HIV include:

African Americans.

PWID People Who Inject Drugs.

Transgender People.

(LGBT) Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender.

Communities of Color.

Hispanics/Latinos.

Gay & Bisexual Men (People of Color, Caucasian, etc.).

The best way to prevent hepatitis A is by getting vaccinated against the hepatitis A virus, and practicing good hand hygiene, which means thoroughly washing hands after using the bathroom, changing diapers, and before preparing and eating food.

The best way to prevent HIV is to use condoms when engaged in sexual activity, use clean needles if you are a PWID, use PrEP as Prevention or make the decision to abstain from sexual intercourse. PrEP referrals are offered at Carroll County Health Department. Please call to make appointments.

The Carroll County Health Department, 1004 Newnan Road, Carrollton, is offering free hepatitis A vaccinations during regular business hours.  Appointments are preferred. Hepatitis A vaccination is required for school-age children born on or after January 1, 2006, these individuals do not need further Hepatitis A vaccination.

The 46 hepatitis A cases in Carroll County have occurred between April 1, 2020 and November 16, 2020. According to the CDC, Georgia is one of 29 states experiencing an outbreak of the highly contagious liver infection.

Since January 1, 2020, 562 cases of hepatitis A have been confirmed statewide. Of these 65 have been in District 4 Public Health with 46 in Carroll County.