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NEW ALBANY — Indiana is experiencing an outbreak of hepatitis A, a highly contagious liver disease. Since November 2017, the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) has confirmed 44 outbreak-related cases of hepatitis A in Floyd County. The ISDH reports 385 (as of 8/17/2018) outbreak-related cases in Indiana, which typically sees about 20 cases in a 12-month period.

Hepatitis A is usually transmitted person-to-person through fecal-oral routes or by consuming contaminated food or water. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identifies those most at risk during this outbreak as people who use illicit drugs, people who are homeless, men who have sex with men and individuals who are incarcerated.

To prevent further spread of disease, Floyd County Health Department is offering a vaccination clinic for high-risk people who are homeless, injection or non-injection drug users, recent stay in jail, or men who have sex with men.

The free shots will be offered from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday at St. Mark’s United Church of Christ, 222 E. Spring St.

For anyone unable to attend the vaccination clinic, hepatitis A vaccine is readily available from health care providers and pharmacies as routine preventative care. Careful hand washing with soap and running water, especially before preparing food, is another important prevention measure.

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