LAS VEGAS (FOX5) – A Hepatitis A outbreak is sweeping through Clark County.
The Southern Nevada Health District reported 83 cases, dating back to November 2018. More than 92 percent of the cases reported drug use and more than 80 percent reported being homeless.
“We have people that may not know how to prevent hepatitis A and also people who may not know if they're vaccinated for hepatitis A,” said Chelsi Cheatom with TracB Exchange.
TracB Exchange takes a more controversial approach to helping preventing the spread of drug related illnesses. By providing drug users with clean syringes, cleaning products and education, it’s hoping to prevent the spread of viruses like Hepatitis A and C.
"If people are already engaging in this behavior, they're already using syringes, already injecting, what we want to do is to be able to provide sterile syringes, education on how to prevent HIV, abscesses and also how to prevent overdose."
Hepatitis A is highly contagious and spread through fecal matter.
"This really has to do with a lack of sanitary conditions in the places where people are living,” said Dr. Vit Kraushaar, Medical Investigator with SNHD. “So they may not have access to running water, they may not have access to plumbing."
TracB is hoping it can provide safe equipment to users until they’re ready to seek treatment. TracB provides resources to users who need help.
"This is something that's helping the opioid epidemic and getting people back into the care system that they need to be in,” she said.
For more information on the Hepatitis A outbreak, signs and symptoms, click here.