Hep A Cases Continue To Spread Across Kentucky

Aug 28, 2018

Hepatitis A has been spreading among the homeless, like these clients of Lexington's Catholic Action Center. But as the number of cases continues to rise, the threat of infection increases for those outside of high risk groups.
Credit By Mary Meehan

 

The number of cases of Hepatitis A is still rising with nearly 1,500 cases in the commonwealth. Close to 900 people have been hospitalized and 12 people have died.

In a typical year Kentucky has fewer than 20 cases of Hepatitis A.

According the state department of public health, the outbreak is also spreading geographically. Originally centered in Jefferson County, the infectious disease is now found in 84 Kentucky counties.

The disease has been spread primarily by people who abuse drugs, the homeless and men who have sex with men. Food service workers have also been the source of some infections.

Spread by oral contact with fecal matter, public health officials say the best prevention is thorough hand washing. They also encourage the Hepatitis A vaccine, which is available through pharmacies such as CVS or, if you are part of a high risk group, local public health departments. Kentucky currently has one of the worst outbreaks in the country. 

Click here to watch a video about proper hand washing techniques.