Public Health Concerns

Tennessee Hepatitis A Outbreak Update

The Tennessee Department of Health (TDH) continues to provide updates on the growing hepatitis A outbreak in the state. Over 1200 cases have been reported to TDH from December 1, 2017 to April 1, 2019 and over 15000 nationally. Most have at least one risk factor seen in other large, prolonged multi-state outbreaks: use of recreational drugs, sexual contact between men, or homelessness. Additional cases are expected in the coming months.

The TDH is working with local health departments to protect persons at higher risk, including educational outreach and offering vaccine in health department clinics, in homeless shelters and encampments, correctional facilities and other locations. Resources for the public are available at: https://www.tn.gov/health/cedep/tennessee-hepatitis-a-outbreak.html. Transmission is presumed to occur person-to-person and through recreational (injection and non-injection) drug use. Hepatitis A vaccine is extremely effective. The first dose of the two dose series will protect most people for several years. The two dose series is all that is needed for a lifetime; it does not require booster doses.

Hepatitis A is a contagious, vaccine-preventable liver infection that is spread in the feces of infected people. Individuals with hepatitis A infection can be contagious for two weeks before and one week after they show symptoms.

Most people become sick about a month after being infected. The illness can range from mild to serious illness, and in some situations, result in death. Persons with the acute onset of symptoms of hepatitis present with yellowing of the eyes and/or skin, fever, nausea/vomiting, dark urine, pale stool, abdominal pain, fatigue and loss of appetite.

Measles

Measles cases are increasingly prevalent across the country, including Tennessee. All MTSU students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to talk with their health care professional to insure vaccinations are current to reduce the spread of the disease.

Measles cases are infectious four days before rash onset through four days after rash onset. Time between exposure and rash onset is 14 days (range 7-21 days). Measles is transmitted via respiratory droplets and is highly infectious. The virus may linger in the air of a room for up to two hours after an infectious person has left the area.

Clinical Symptoms

Measles begins with a fever (up to 105°F) and cough, runny nose, and conjunctivitis. Small bluish-white spots with red bases may be sometimes seen inside the mouth on the cheek areas. Rash onset is typically 3-7 days after onset of the initial symptoms, beginning on the face and spreading downward.

Please contact Student Health at 615-898-2988 if you have concerns about measles exposure or illness.

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