Health Dept. calls on medical reserves to battle Hepatitis A outbreak


CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) – The Chattanooga-Hamilton County Health Department is calling on reserve units for their battle against a hepatitis A outbreak.

They will use the Medical Reserve Corps to pump up the numbers of people working to quell the outbreak.

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The Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) is a national network of volunteers to reinforce emergency response capabilities.

“Thanks to the MRC, we can reduce interruptions to our regular services,” says Health Department Emergency Response Coordinator Sabrina Novak, “The Medical Reserve Corps is one of our most valuable public health tools.”

Their game plan for the local hepatitis A outbreak is to protect as many high risk people as possible through vaccination outreach clinics.

But the clinics require more health professionals, which is where the MRC comes in.

The high risk factors are recreational drug use, homelessness, and men who have sex with men.

“We appreciate the health department calling us up,” says Medical Reserve Corps volunteer Joye Wessells, “It is very fulfilling to know that we are helping make a difference in our community by preventing the spread of hepatitis A.”

The Chattanooga area normally gets one case a year of Hep A, at most.

But we have seen 15 since May.

If you would like to join the local Medical Reserve Corps, please contact the Health Department’s MRC Volunteer Coordinator, Maegan Kerr at 423-209-8068.

There is a need for both medical and non-medical personnel; all skill sets are welcome.

More information can be found on their website.