Alert: Hepatitis A Outbreak in Mecklenburg County

Cardinal Innovations Healthcare — October 17, 2018
Click hereto read a letter about the outbreak from Cardinal Innovations Healthcare Interim Chief Medical Officer Dr. Terri Harpold, MD.

Frequently Asked Questions

Mecklenburg County is experiencing a hepatitis A outbreak. Hepatitis A is a vaccine-preventable illness. We’re asking for your help to prevent the infection from spreading.

What is Hepatitis A and how is it spread?
Hepatitis A is a highly contagious liver infection caused by a virus spread from person to person. The illness can last for weeks to months. Hepatitis A spreads through the fecal-oral route, most commonly by forgetting to wash your hands after using the bathroom or changing diapers, having sexual contact with infected partners, and eating, drinking foods, or smoking cigarettes or using drugs contaminated by hepatitis A virus.

These priority populations should get the Hepatitis A vaccine:
  • People who are homeless
  • People who use injection and non-injection illegal drugs
  • People who have close contact, care for, or live with someone with Hepatitis A
  • Men who have sexual encounters with other with men

What are the symptoms of Hepatitis A?
Although not all people infected with hepatitis A virus experience illness, symptoms can include nausea, fever, yellowing of the eyes and skin, dark urine, grey feces, joint pain, feeling tired, loss of appetite, and stomach pain.

What can I do to prevent the spread of the virus?
  • Get vaccinated against hepatitis A
  • Wash hands after using the restroom and before eating or preparing meals for yourself or others
  • Use your own towels, toothbrushes, and eating utensils
  • Do not have sex with someone who has Hepatitis A infection
  • Do not share food, drinks, drugs, or cigarettes (including e-cigarettes) with other people
  • If you think you may have Hepatitis A, see your medical provider
  • If you have Hepatitis A, please cooperate with your local public health to help protect others.

Is there more than one kind of shot (vaccination injection)?
Hepatitis A is a vaccine for those who are at least 12 months of age. Immune Globulin is given to those under 12 months, those who are immunocompromised, those with chronic liver disease, and those who can’t receive Hep A vaccine. Two doses of Hepatitis A vaccine are needed to ensure best protection. The first dose is greater than 90% effective. Receiving a second dose 6 months later will provide 100% long-lasting protection**. Both doses or are available through the Health Department at no charge through DPH clinics.

When and where can I get a shot?
There are two types of shots, vaccine and immune globulin. The hepatitis A vaccine is available at the health department, federally qualified health centers, and many private providers. The Immune Globulin is not widely available and may only be available at the health department.

If you have insurance, you can get the vaccine at your regular health provider’s office. The vaccine is also available for FREE for priority populations (listed above) at these locations Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.:
  • Northwest Health Department 2845 Beatties Ford Rd., Charlotte
  • Southeast Health Department 249 Billingsley Rd., Charlotte
  • Valerie C. Woodard Community Resources Center 3205 Freedom Dr., Charlotte
Call 1-980-314-9400 to schedule an appointment. Walk-ins are welcome.

For more information you can contact your local Public Helath office, click here

***information provided by DMH/DD/SAS

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