Health officials are urging everyone in Fayette County to get vaccinated against Hepatitis A.
At a press conference Tuesday, Health Commissioner Dr. Kraig Humbaugh said Fayette County has only 9 cases confirmed so far, but that the vaccine has “an excellent track record” of preventing the spread of the disease.
Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease that is usually spread when a person unknowingly eats or drinks something contaminated by small amounts of fecal matter from an infected person. Washing your hands with soap and warm water after using the bathroom, changing a diaper or before making food or drinks can also help stop the spread of Hepatitis A.
Although children are now required to get the vaccine before attending school, most adults have not been vaccinated. You can schedule an appointment
to get the vaccine at the health department or go to your primary care physician. Pharmacies also offer the vaccine without a prescription. Because it is a prevenative measure it should be free if you have insurance that conforms to the stipulations of the Affordable Care Act. Hepatitis A has been spreading across the state since last fall. Currently there are more than 1,600 cases and more than half of those who became ill had to be hospitalized. So far in Kentucky 13 people have died.Usually, Kentucky averages about 20 cases a year. Kentucky’s outbreak is now the worst in the nation. This is the latest weekly report
on the outbreak in Kentucky, including how many cases have been confirmed in each county. The outbreak initially started in Louisville, where there are about 600 confirmed cases. It has now spread to 86 counties in Kentucky and has hit some, such a Boyd and Carter, disproportionately hard. Hepatitis A is often associated with contaminated food. This outbreak is unusual because it has been spreading through people who are homeless and people with substance use disorder and men who have sex with men. As the numbers grow, more people outside of those high risk groups are being infected. Wendy Barnett contributed to this report.