Northeast Arkansas continues to be heavily affected by an ongoing hepatitis A (hep A) outbreak, therefore the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) will host two public clinics to vaccinate residents of Greene County.
Hep A is a contagious liver disease that can be prevented by vaccination. The ADH recommends all Greene County residents between the ages of 19 and 60 get vaccinated, according to a news release.
Vaccines will be available free at the Paragould Community Center:
From 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 23;
From 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 30.
The vaccine will be provided to the public free. People should bring their insurance cards and driver’s licenses if they have them. If someone does not have insurance, or if their insurance does not cover the vaccine or charges a copay, the vaccine will still be provided free to the patient, according to the release.
Since February, 94 cases of hep A have been reported as part of the outbreak, including one death. Greene County has had the most cases, although there have been cases in Clay, Craighead, Independence, Lawrence, Mississippi, Monroe and Randolph counties, according to the release.
Along with getting the vaccine, all Greene County residents should wash their hands thoroughly and often. The ADH strongly encourages all food handlers to be vaccinated against hep A in both Greene and Clay counties to protect against spread of the virus, according to the release.
Typical symptoms of hep A include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, clay-colored bowel movements, joint pain, or jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes). It can range in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe illness lasting several months, and can occasionally cause death, according to the release.