Cleveland man diagnosed with Hepatitis A shares story
We are hearing from a Hepatitis A patient for the first time since a multi-state outbreak has infected thousands, including Tennessee and Georgia.
More than 1,100 people have been diagnosed with Hepatitis A, including a Cleveland man.
Data from state health officials show six people have died and 62% of those diagnosed in Tennessee have been hospitalized after being diagnosed.
Timothy Scroggins said he's never experienced anything quite like this and is still recovering almost a month after symptoms started.
"I'm still dealing with the jaundice, which I'm a little yellowish, at certain points," he said.
It's been a scary three and a half weeks for Scroggins after being diagnosed with Hepatitis A in March.
"My enzyme levels were over 3,000. Which is not supposed to be over double digits," he added.
After an eight-day stay in the hospital, the 30-year-old is at home in Cleveland still recovering.
There's no telling where Scroggins caught the virus because people are often contagious before they even know they have it.
"People are infectious before they're symptomatic. So they can be spreading or shedding the virus before they actually exhibit symptoms. They're unaware that they're infected," Debbie Walker, Southeast Tennessee Director of Communicable & Environmental Disease Surveillance said.
Walker said the state has advised hospitals and doctors to look out for possible Hepatitis A cases when someone shows symptoms, which are similar to the flu.
Cases are confirmed through a specific blood test.
"We're looking for a Hepatitis A IGM test result. That tells us that the patient is probably in an acute phase of infection," she added.
After this experience, Scroggins hopes to be feeling like himself again and that the outbreak ends soon.
"I don't even wish this on my enemies, that's how bad it is," he said.
If you have been around someone who Hepatitis A, you can still get a vaccine if you live in Tennessee.
All you have to do is call your local health department and they will make arrangements for you to get one.
To learn more about Hepatitis A, click HERE.