Northwest Georgia health departments in Bartow, Catoosa, Chattooga, Dade, Floyd, Gordon, and Walker counties will provide free hepatitis A vaccine to individuals at risk of the highly contagious, highly preventable liver disease every Friday in May.
Clinics will be held at each health department on May 3, 10, 17, 24, and 31, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Those at risk of hepatitis A include: individuals recently released from jail or prison; men who have sex with men; recreational drug users; homeless or transient individuals; and persons with close contact to someone with these risk factors.
“We urge individuals with one or more of these risk factors to get vaccinated against this vaccine-preventable disease,’ said Dr. Unini Odama, director for the Department of Public Health Northwest Health District. “The best way to prevent hepatitis A is to practice good hygiene, proper hand washing, careful and sanitary preparation of food, and by getting vaccinated against the hepatitis A virus.”
Georgia is one of 18 states experiencing a large number of cases of the highly contagious liver infection. Most of the Georgia cases are currently clustered in Northwest Georgia.
Therefore, health officials are encouraging everyone to actively prevent the spread of hepatitis A and asking healthcare providers to be aware of the disease and its symptoms, which include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, diarrhea, joint pain, and jaundice.