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From WMOT News

Praise for Nashville's handling of Hepatitus A outbreak


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (OSBORNE)  --  The Nashville Department of Health is getting top marks for its handling of the Hepatitis A outbreak.

At last count, 60 Nashville residents have been diagnosed with the highly contagious, liver-damaging virus. There is no cure once diagnosed, but there is a vaccine that prevents infection.

The city is providing regular updates to the public. It’s also aggressively reaching out to vulnerable communities. The city says people who abuse illicit drugs, the homeless and men who engage in sex with other men are most at risk.

Chris Sanders with the Tennessee Equality Project notes that the city is using social media effectively to reach out to the gay community.

“I’ve been really impressed. There have been sponsored Facebook posts about the outbreak, but also the fact that the Health Department is finding ways to offer free vaccines to anyone who might have been exposed.”

In addition, Sanders notes the department has teams passing out information and offering inoculations at area bars and nightclubs frequented by gay men.

Organizations serving the homeless say they’ve also been impressed. Michelle Brinson at the Nashville Rescue Mission says officials immediately quarantined the one mission resident diagnosed with Hep A.

She says the Health Department has teams conducting training and doing inspections. Brinson says officials are also holding regular conference calls.

“Every other week and discuss what is happening. Diagnosis. You know, if it’s continuing to spread, (or) if it’s starting to wane; just to keep everybody informed.”

Use this link to access the Nashville Health Department’s Hepatitus A info page.