Cases of hepatitis A are spreading in North Alabama. They've already been detected in Jackson and DeKalb counties, but surrounding counties are now at risk as well.
A pharmacy in Section is giving out free hepatitis A vaccinations to qualifying adults. Derrell Massey said there's a simple reason he wanted to administer the free doses to those who cannot afford it.
"These are our people. It's us," he said.
Massey said his community presents unique challenges.
"When we talk about Jackson and DeKalb counties, we talk about a rural area," he said.
The Alabama Department of Public Health says at-risk groups for contracting the illness are the homeless, illegal drug users and same-sex partners. However, Massey said anyone could be at risk if they eat out.
"Probably the biggest concern would be restaurants," he said.
If an infected restaurant employee doesn't wash their hands, the virus can contaminate food, and the illness is hard to differentiate from others.
"It looks like the flu. It hits like the flu," Massey said.
For those who do experience symptoms, Massey said he's here to help.
"It's very simple. It's the price we pay to occupy the state in this community," he said.
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