Hepatitis A outbreak in Northeast Arkansas grows to more than 400 cases

Hepatitis A outbreak in Northeast Arkansas

GREENE COUNTY, Ark. (WMC) - A rapidly growing outbreak of Hepatitis A in Northeast Arkansas has local and state health officials getting the word out about how contagious the virus is.

More than 400 people have come down with Hepatitis A in the state since February 2018.

A majority of the 437 cases of Hepatitis A in Arkansas is in the Northeastern portion of the state according to the state health department.

Greene and Craighead counties have both seen 100 or more cases.

According to a map by the Arkansas Health Department, Poinsett and Clay counties are the second most affected counties with reports of 70 to 100 cases in both counties. Mississippi County has seen between five and 30 cases of Hepatitis A.

The Mississippi County Health Department posted on social media the state health department has asked for its help identifying ways to vaccinate high-risk groups in the community.

According to the department, you are more at risk for the virus if you use drugs -- both injection and non-injection use, if you’ve been in jail or prison over the last two months, if you’ve been homeless or had unstable housing, or if you are a male who has had sex with another male.

The department says one dose of the Hepatitis A vaccine is 94 percent effective in preventing the illness.

There have been 3 deaths in this outbreak. Other states have been dealing with the Hepatitis A outbreak too, including Tennessee. More than 2,700 cases have been reported here since December 2017 with 21 deaths.

There have been more than 70 in Shelby County.

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