Health officials: 2 cases of hep A confirmed at Davidson jail - WSMV News 4

Health officials: 2 cases of hepatitis A confirmed at Davidson Co. jail, 18 cases total in county

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The Metro Public Health Department confirmed on Friday that two cases of hepatitis A have been found in inmates being held by the Davidson County Sheriff's Office.

With the two new cases confirmed on Friday, it brings the total to 18 confirmed cases in Davidson County since December 2017.

The health department will begin mass vaccinations of inmates and Davidson County Sheriff's Office staff on Saturday.

Going forward, the hep A vaccine will be offered when a person in custody enters a DCSO facility for the first time.

As a result of the confirmed cases, all DCSO detainees will undergo a screening prior to being taken to any scheduled appointments or court dates. If they are found to have any signs or symptoms, they will be isolated and will not leave the facility until they have been cleared by medical staff.

The Davidson County Sheriff's Office released the following statement:

"The Nashville-Davidson County Sheriff's Office takes the health of our staff and inmates very seriously. We are working closely with the Metro Public Health Department and are committed to following every recommendation/protocol in order to provide protective measures. Jails are a microcosm of the community; therefore, it isn't surprising we are now seeing cases in our facilities following several cases diagnosed in Davidson County. Vaccinations will be offered to both staff and inmates at the Correctional Development Center and the Offender Re-Entry Center beginning (Saturday) morning."

Large hepatitis A outbreaks have occurred since early 2017 in several states, including ongoing outbreaks in California, Utah, Kentucky, Indiana and West Virginia.

Hepatitis A general spreads from person-to-person primarily among people who are homeless and people who use illicit drugs.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), those at greatest risk of exposure to hepatitis A in the current outbreaks include:

  • Illicit drug users (not just injection drug use)
  • Men who have sexual contact with men
  • Individuals experiencing homelessness

Metro Public Health continues to work with the Tennessee Department of Health and CDC on testing specimen collected from those confirmed as having hepatitis A. Last week the health department received confirmation from the CDC that genotype test results from one of the samples in Nashville matched the strain of hepatitis A found in the recent outbreaks around the country.

The health department continues to offer free hepatitis A vaccine at all three health centers to the three risk groups.

Based on current confirmed cases, the immediate priority includes men who have sexual contact with men and individuals who use illicit drugs (injection and non-injection).

The health department received an initial shipment of 1,000 doses of the hepatitis A vaccine. The Tennessee Department of Health provided an additional 750 does of the vaccine on Thursday with more available as needed.

The Metro Public Health Department operates three health centers open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

  • East Health Center, 1015 E. Trinity Lane
  • Lentz Health Center, 2500 Charlotte Ave.
  • Woodbine Health Center, 224 Oriel Ave.

An agreement with Neighborhood Health has been established to provide hepatitis A vaccine to those in the three at-risk groups. Neighborhood Health locations and hours of operations are as follows:

  • Downtown Clinic, 526 Eighth Ave. S., adjacent to the Room in the Inn campus, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday
  • Madison Clinic, 601 W. Due West Ave., 8 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday
  • My House Clinic, 442 Metroplex Dr., Building D, Suite 200, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday.

Walk-ins are welcome. Appointments can be made with Neighborhood Health by calling (615) 227-3000.

According to health officials, a total of 110 doses of vaccine have been provided at the three Health Department Health Centers and the three Neighborhood Health locations.

MPHD has hepatitis A vaccine available for children and adults.

The vaccine can also be found at area health care providers in Nashville for those with insurance. Many insurance plans cover the costs of hepatitis A vaccine without a deductible or co-pay if administered by an in-network health care provider.

MPHD issued a health alert two weeks to health care providers in Nashville about the current hepatitis A outbreak, a reminder about the symptoms, and how they should report cases to MPHD.

MPHD has initiated a community awareness campaign focusing on outbreak updates and steps to follow to prevent exposure to hepatitis A.  Updates and prevention messaging, such as the importance of hand washing and the use of a vaccine to protect against the virus for those at risk, can be found at

Hepatitis A is a vaccine-preventable liver disease caused by the hepatitis A virus. Common symptoms include fever, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, jaundice (yellowing of eyes and skin), and clay-colored stools. The disease can be severe in some people possibly requiring hospitalization. Most recover completely within a few weeks. Hepatitis A usually spreads when a person unknowingly ingests the virus from objects, food, or drinks contaminated by small, undetected amounts of stool from an infected person. Hepatitis A can also spread from close personal contact with an infected person such as through sex or caring for someone who is ill. The best way to prevent hepatitis A is through vaccination.

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