I got “Georgia on my mind.” My heartfelt thanks to the North Georgia Health Department.

Hepatitis A is a vaccine-preventable, communicable disease of the liver caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV). It is usually transmitted person-to-person through food or objects contaminated by fecal material. Symptoms of hepatitis A can appear abruptly and can include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, diarrhea, clay-colored stools, joint pain and jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes).

Due to an increase in reported cases of hepatitis A in eastern Alabama, southeastern Tennessee and northwest Georgia, and to prevent the spread of hepatitis A, the North Georgia Health District is conducting a vaccination campaign among our populations who are at greatest risk for becoming infected with hepatitis A, including persons incarcerated in jails, homeless persons, illicit drug users, and men who have sex with men; and we urge food service workers to get vaccinated, as well.

North Georgia Health District county public health departments are providing hepatitis A vaccinations for *free at Health Departments in Cherokee, Fannin, Gilmer, Murray, Pickens or Whitfield County, especially for the above people who are at greatest risk and for food service workers. Just click on the county name where you live in North Georgia and link to that county health department web page for contact information.

*Clients will not be charged a fee  for the hepatitis A vaccine; however, if acceptable health insurance or Medicare is available, these plans will be billed. If no health coverage is available, the vaccine will still be provided to the client at no cost.

Here is the latest from the CDC on the ongoing outbreak: