November 16, 2018
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State offers free vaccines after hepatitis A case found in Portland shelters

Jake Bleiberg | BDN
Jake Bleiberg | BDN
Portland's Oxford Street Shelter, seen in this BDN file photo.

The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention is holding two free vaccination clinics in Portland this week after a person who had stayed at two shelters in the city was found to have hepatitis A.

The person stayed at the city’s Oxford Street Shelter and at Florence House, and visited the Preble Street Resource Center during the daytime hours while contagious, between Oct. 1 and Oct. 21.

“Although we only have a single case at this time, we are proactively holding this clinic to protect those who might have been exposed,” Maine CDC Director Dr. Bruce Bates said in a written statement. “We want to prevent the spread of this disease and hopefully avoid an outbreak situation like several U.S. states are currently experiencing.”

Hepatitis A is a highly contagious liver disease that can cause symptoms including nausea and stomach pain, can result in hospitalization and last for several months, according to the center.

About 100 people die from the disease in America each year.

Hepatitis A can be spread through the sharing of food, cups, eating utensils, towels, toothbrushes, cigarettes and syringes, and during sexual contact, according to the Maine CDC.

The clinics are being scheduled to take place at Preble Street on Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., and on Thursday from noon to 4 p.m.

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