Tennessee Department of Health warns of dangerous hepatitis A outbreak

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee Department of Health is warning that an outbreak of hepatitis A has killed one person and sickened more than 400 others.

The department says the outbreak most heavily affects Nashville and Chattanooga.

Health Commissioner John Dreyzehner says in a news release that more than half of those identified with the illness have needed hospitalization and more deaths are possible.

Hepatitis A is liver disease that is usually transmitted through contact with contaminated feces or consumption of contaminated food or water. Tennessee’s outbreak is linked to a large, multi-state outbreak that began in 2017. It is primarily affecting recreational drug users and people experiencing homelessness.

A vaccine is available, and more than 36,000 doses have been provided to those most at risk.