SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- The Springfield-Greene County Health Department received funding from the state to help combat the spread of Hepatitis A.
Kendra Findley works for the Greene-County Health Department. She says there has been a nationwide outbreak of the disease since 2016. She says there have been more than 15,000 cases nationwide and more than 57 percent of those cases had to be hospitalized.
"Hepatitis A is vaccine preventable illness so if we can get the vaccine in high risk groups we can prevent the illness all together," says Findley.
She says those five high risk groups are individuals who have been recently incarcerated, individuals who are experiencing homelessness, individuals who use drugs, men who have sex with men, and then anyone with a chronic liver disease.
Cindy Tucker, a registered nurse who specializes in Infection prevention at Cox South, says this is a great opportunity for those individuals because it can help stop the spread of a contagious disease. Hepatitis A is a virus that affects the liver.
"A tiny part of your stool can get in food, or an object and then you touch that object or food and that put that in your mouth that is how it is transmitted, so the best way to prevent it is good hand-washing after using the restroom or before eating food," says Tucker.
Nausea, fever, and jaundice of the eyes and skin are just a few of the symptoms from Hepatitis A. Tucker says it can take more than two weeks for symptoms to show.