News Flash

Springfield-Greene County Health Department News Releases

Posted on: August 22, 2019

Aug 22, 2019 - Vaccine available to combat statewide Hepatitis A outbreak

Springfield-Greene County Health Department | Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services

As noted below, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services is urging at-risk populations to get vaccinated against Hepatitis A to prevent future spread of a statewide Hepatitis A outbreak.

In addition to the at-risk populations listed in the news release, the Springfield-Greene County Health Department is also offering vaccine for those who are uninsured or underinsured.

Those who qualify for a no-cost vaccine include people who:

  • Are uninsured or have insurance that does not cover vaccines
  • Use recreational drugs;
  • Are experiencing homelessness;
  • Are men who have sex with men;
  • Are in treatment or counseling for substance abuse;
  • Are receiving drug substitution treatment and/or participate in drug court;
  • Work or have been detained in jail or a detention center; or
  • Have close contact with the above group(s) or a confirmed hepatitis A case

Walk-in vaccine opportunities are Wednesdays, 8 am to 4 pm at the Harold K. Bengsch Building at 227 E. Chestnut Expressway in Springfield, or by appointment by calling 417-864-1658. Funding for no-cost vaccine for uninsured or underinsured will last through September 15.

For more information on Hepatitis A in Greene County, visit health.springfieldmo.gov/HepA


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Over 400 cases reported statewide in hepatitis A outbreak in Missouri

Missouri DHSS urges at-risk population to get vaccinated

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – From September 15, 2017 to August 20, 2019, there have been 414 hepatitis A outbreak-associated cases in 35 Missouri counties. Of the cases reported, there have been 233 hepatitis A outbreak-associated hospitalizations and 2 hepatitis A outbreak-associated deaths. The disease appears to be spreading through direct person-to-person contact, mostly among people who use illicit injection or non-injection drugs and their close contacts.

Local public health agencies across Missouri are working to vaccinate at-risk populations to help stop the outbreak. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, these populations include people who:

  • Use recreational drugs;
  • Are experiencing homelessness;
  • Are men who have sex with men;
  • Are in treatment or counseling for substance abuse;
  • Are receiving drug substitution treatment and/or participate in drug court;
  • Work or have been detained in jail or a detention center; or
  • Have close contact with the above group(s) or a confirmed hepatitis A case

Members of at least one of these at-risk groups who have not been vaccinated against hepatitis A, can contact the local public health agency in their area with questions or to request the vaccine.

“Recently, I was able to accompany members of our Section for Disease Prevention to the National Viral Hepatitis Planning Meeting in Atlanta to glean information from other states’ communicable disease programs,” said Dr. Randall Williams, director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. “One notable state we heard from was Tennessee—a state comparable in size to Missouri—which is experiencing an even more severe outbreak. We are grateful to have their insight and perspective on this issue. Their experience has allowed us to be more prepared for this potential situation and work to prevent this type of contagious outbreak to spread further.”

Hepatitis A is a viral infection of the liver that can cause loss of appetite, nausea, tiredness, fever, stomach pain, brown colored urine, and light colored stools. Yellowing of the skin or eyes might also occur. People can become ill up to 7 weeks after being exposed to the virus. If you think you have symptoms of hepatitis A, you should contact your healthcare provider.

Hepatitis A usually spreads when a person unknowingly ingests the virus from objects, food, or drinks contaminated by small, undetected amounts of stool (poop) from an infected person. In addition to vaccination, careful hand washing with soap and water, including under the fingernails, after using the bathroom or changing diapers and before preparing or eating food can help prevent the spread of this disease.

For further information about hepatitis A, visit the DHSS website.

About the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services: The department seeks to be the leader in protecting health and keeping people safe. More information about DHSS can be found at http://health.mo.gov or find us on Facebook and Twitter @HealthyLivingMo.

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