Northwest Georgia Health Departments to provide free hepatitis A vaccine clinics in May

This news release comes from the Georgia Department of Public Health, Northwest Health District:

Northwest Georgia Health Departments in Bartow, Catoosa, Chattooga, Dade, Floyd, Gordon and Walker Counties will provide free hepatitis A vaccine to individuals at risk of the highly contagious, highly preventable liver disease every Friday in May. Clinics will be held at each health department on May 3, 10, 17, 24, and 31, from 8 am to 2 pm.

Those at risk of hepatitis A include:

  • individuals recently released from jail or prison
  • men who have sex with men
  • recreational drug users
  • homeless or transient individuals
  • persons with close contact to someone with these risk factors

“We urge individuals with one or more of these risk factors to get vaccinated against this vaccine-preventable disease,’ said Dr. Unini Odama, Health Director for the Georgia Department of Public Health Northwest Health District. “The best way to prevent hepatitis A is to practice good hygiene, proper handwashing, careful and sanitary preparation of food, and by getting vaccinated against the hepatitis A virus.”

Georgia is one of 18 states experiencing a large number of cases of the highly contagious liver infection.  Most of the Georgia cases are currently clustered in Northwest Georgia.  Therefore, we are encouraging everyone to actively prevent the spread of hepatitis A and we are asking healthcare providers to be aware of the disease and its symptoms, which include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, diarrhea, joint pain, and jaundice.

Hepatitis A Infographic

For more information about hepatitis A, the free hepatitis A vaccination clinics, and addresses and contact information for your local county health department, visit

Potential Hepatitis A Exposure from Restaurant Worker

News Release from the Georgia Department of Public Health, Northwest Health District:

The Georgia Department of Public Health Northwest Health District officials have confirmed a case of hepatitis A in a food handler at McDonalds, 106 Lafayette Road, Chickamauga, GA. An investigation found that this employee worked at the restaurant while infectious, from March 4 through March 17. While it is relatively rare for restaurant patrons to become infected with hepatitis A virus due to an infected food handler, there might be some risk to the public,” says District Health Director Dr. Unini Odama, and therefore we are doing everything necessary to protect the public and anyone that might have been inadvertently exposed to the hepatitis A virus.We recommend that anyone who consumed food or drink at this restaurant during this time contact their healthcare provider or local health department to determine if a hepatitis A vaccination is needed to prevent the disease. The hepatitis A vaccine is safe, effective, and well tolerated. It is the best protection against the hepatitis A virus. Additional protective measures, such as immune globulin injections, may be recommended for certain people.

Free hepatitis A vaccination will be provided at the Catoosa and Walker County Health Departments on Thursday, March 28, 8 am6:30 pm; Friday, March 29, 8 am2pm; and Saturday, March 30 from 8 am to 12 noon.

  • Walker County Health Department, 603 E. Villanow Street, La Fayette, GA 30728 706-6385577
  • Catoosa County Health Department, 145 Catoosa Circle, Ringgold, GA 7064062000

Anyone who consumed food and/or drink at the restaurant during this time should also:

1. Monitor their health for symptoms of hepatitis A infection up to fifty days after exposure.

2. Wash their hands with soap and warm water frequently and thoroughly, especially after using the bathroom and before preparing food.

3. Stay at home and contact your healthcare provider immediately if symptoms of hepatitis A infection develop.

Hepatitis A is a viral infection of the liver that can cause loss of appetite, nausea, tiredness, fever, stomach pain, darkcolored urine and lightcolored stools. Yellowing of the skin or eyes may also appear. People can become ill up to fifty days after being exposed to the virus. Hepatitis A is acquired when a person unknowingly ingests the virus from objects, food, or drinks contaminated by small, undetected amounts of stool from an infected person. The virus spreads when an infected person does not wash his/her hands adequately after using the toilet or engages in behaviors that increase risk of infection. Careful hand washing, including under the fingernails, with soap and water, along with vaccination of anyone at risk of infection, will prevent spread of this disease.

For more information on hepatitis A, go to or