Since September 2018, the Alabama Department of Public Health has investigated 524 Hepatitis A cases in North Alabama.
Right now, Jackson and DeKalb counties are the only counties where outbreaks have originated, but cases have been reported in other counties. These include Marshall, Etowah, Montgomery and Cherokee counties.
Officials have been keeping a close eye on cases since the outbreak in January, and they say there have been 57 cases this year, so far. That number is up 39 cases from the 18 reported last year.
Health officials say Hepatitis A is 100 percent preventable, but it can spread quickly among people who are not vaccinated. That's why they are saying anyone who has not yet been vaccinated should do so immediately.
As of Friday morning, there are 26 cases in Jackson County, 22 in DeKalb County and two in Marshall County. There are no current investigations in any of these three counties.
There will be vaccination clinics for uninsured or insured “high risk” individuals in the most at-risk areas on the following dates:
May 16th at the Dutton Town Hall from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
May 23rd at the Flat Rock Community Center from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
May 30th at Piegan Town Hall from 10 a.m. to 2. p.m.
Section Pharmacy has free vaccines from the health department when they are open. Officials say the vaccine is 90 percent effective for 30 years.
"What we're seeing in Alabama is that we really got out early on this, and we got out in front of this as a matter of addressing this with this local community," said Dr. Karen Landers with the Alabama Department of Public Health.