Free vaccines: Hepatitis A outbreak hit Jacksonville-area counties in Northeast Florida

Hepatitis A safety

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — An outbreak of hepatitis A has been confirmed in Duval County.

Action News Jax reported earlier this month when Florida declared a public health emergency to help deal with the issue.

It’s a serious illness that’s making its way through Northeast Florida.

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“Hepatitis A can be highly contagious,” Assistant Director of Nursing Tawanda Washington said.

Duval County is considered one of two local counties in our area with high risk for Hepatitis A.

Since the beginning of this year, there have been more 2,034 reported cases of hepatitis A in Florida.

In Duval County, eight people tested positive for the virus. That’s up from four cases since last month.

In June, Clay County reported one case of the virus. Two new cases have been reported since then.

In St. Johns County, there were three cases of hepatitis A in June. At last check, there were six reported cases of the virus.

Washington said the Duval County Public Health Department is offering free vaccinations to let the public know how serious the virus can get and that there is treatment available.

“Those at most risk are those who experience homelessness, those that abuse drugs and men who have sex with men,” said Washington.

Leo Dykes said he knows what viruses such as hepatitis A can do because he has a close relative who suffers from hepatitis C.

“God knows we don’t need no more bad diseases running around,” Dykes said.

Washington said that, luckily, the solution is both simple and effective.

“Hand-washing, hand hygiene and educating the community on what can keep them safe --that’s our goal,” said Washington.

“Maybe this hep A is one of those things we need to take preventative measures for so that it doesn’t become an epidemic,” Dykes said.

Washington said the vaccination is a preventative measure and that it doesn't take much to keep yourself healthy.

Washington says the Hepatitis A vaccine is two parts. In order to be fully protected, patients must return six months later for their second dose.

Free vaccinations will be held at the following address:

Aug. 1 - Aug. 30, 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Monday – Friday

Comprehensive Care Center at Central Health Plaza
515 West 6th Street
Jacksonville, FL 32206

1st Floor, East Building

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