KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WCYB) – Ballad Health issued in a statement Thursday afternoon that three employees of Indian Path Community Hospital were infected with the hepatitis A virus.
Ballad said they found that out this week and have been in close contact with the health department and are providing vaccinations for all Indian Path employees.
The healthcare system said the risk of transmission is low.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the following about hepatitis A:
Hepatitis A is a highly contagious liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus. It can range from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe illness lasting several months. Although rare, hepatitis A can cause death in some people. Hepatitis A usually spreads when a person unknowingly ingests the virus from objects, food, or drinks contaminated by small, undetected amounts of stool from an infected person.
Anyone with questions or concerns should call the Sullivan County Health Department at 423-279-2777 or the Northeast Tennessee Regional Health Office at 423-979-3200. For more information on hepatitis A, visit https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/hav/afaq.htm.
UPDATE: Ballad sent an updated statement on hepatitis A which said the following:
Transmission of hepatitis A in a healthcare setting is rare, so the risk of infection in the hospital is low. Hepatitis A is considered highly contagious in the public arena where individuals do not typically use personal protective equipment like gloves and may not wash their hands as frequently as is common practice inside a hospital. Hepatitis A is transmitted in much the same way as other gastrointestinal viruses, including the sharing of food and drinks and other forms of close personal contact.