Hepatitis A outbreak grows in Kentucky

Leslie Hanson
April 19, 2018

Kentucky has more than 300 cases, the majority of which have occurred in the Louisville area, and MI has more than 800 cases, including 25 deaths.

"Hepatitis A is a vaccine-preventable illness", said the Kentucky Department of Public Health (DPH) acting commissioner Dr. Jeffrey Howard in a statement. Indiana, which typically sees fewer than 20 cases of hepatitis statewide each year, has confirmed 77 cases since January, many of which are related to an outbreak in southern Indiana. Simply register to receive uninterrupted access to our award-winning and in-depth local online content!

Hepatitis A cases have increased in recent months across the state.

For information about how to get the vaccine and the associated costs call your local health department.

The Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) is urging Hoosiers to get vaccinated and take other steps to protect themselves from hepatitis A if they plan to travel to states that are experiencing outbreaks of the disease.

"Our last case was isolated but it was within the last couple of weeks", Carter County Health Department Nursing Supervisor Trena Greene said Tuesday morning, later adding "People are paying attention, especially after Texas Roadhouse".

The spreading of Hepatitis A comes down to poor hygiene, said Ballard, pointing out the disease is transferred mostly through hand-to-hand contact and touching surfaces.

Symptoms of hepatitis A vary and may include loss of appetite, nausea, fatigue, fever, stomachache, dark (cola) colored urine and light colored stools. The Center for Disease and Control (CDC) recommends vaccination for people who wish to be protected against hepatitis A infection.

Since 2006, the CDC has recommended children receive the hepatitis A vaccine series.

Kentucky regulations state that new students entering school must be vaccinated before the next school year begins in August. Someone with the disease may touch a surface and others who come into contact with the surface can acquire the disease as well if they eat or touch their mouth without first washing their hands.

While the current hepatitis A outbreak is occurring primarily within specific at-risk populations, including people who use illicit drugs (both injection and non-injection) and the homeless, through person-to-person transmission.

"About 70 percent of our cases in Kentucky either report drug use or homelessness", he said.

Hepatitis A vaccine is widely available at local pharmacies and health care providers.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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