MORGAN COUNTY, Ala. (WAFF) - Hepatitis A has been making its way across the Tennessee Valley. Madison, Marshall, Jackson and DeKalb counties have all seen outbreaks in the last year.
There have not been any reported cases in Morgan County, and officials are trying to keep it that way.
The Alabama Department of Public Health provided optional vaccinations to inmates at the county jail Friday as a precaution.
Health officials say inmates are in the high-risk population, so providing free vaccines could prevent an outbreak in the county.
State health authorities say they aren't surprised it's heading west and they're seeing cases in other counties.
For now, officials say they’re doing their best to get ahead of it before it becomes a problem. That’s why the department of public health is starting with inmates at the Morgan County Jail.
“Hepatitis A is preventable with a vaccine and good hand hygiene. It’ll cause you to be extremely ill for three to four months, sort of like flu-like symptoms. It’s very important for you to get a hepatitis A vaccine. The inmates are part of the high-risk categories. People that have been recently incarcerated, the homeless, drug users, are at high risk for getting this disease, so we are trying to get in front of it,” said Michael Glenn with the Alabama Department of Public Health.
Inmates did have the right to decline the vaccine, however, several chose to get vaccinated.