Hepatitis A Outbreak


Health officials are urging the community to get a hepatitis A vaccine.

Chris Pontus is an officer with the Massachusetts Nurses Association and she participated in last week’s Health Watch USA conference in Lexington.  






Jim Thacker is frustrated.

The spokesperson for the Madison County, Kentucky, Health Department said there is a real threat of a Hepatitis A outbreak at the detention center right down the road in Richmond.

Built to house about 240 inmates, it holds more than 400.  

“It’s like a petri dish, they are packed so close together,” he said.

Stu Johnson

Health officials across Kentucky are monitoring expanding hepatitis cases. That includes Fayette County Health Commissioner and former state epidemiologist Kraig Humbaugh. 

Hepatitis A, which is a disease affecting the liver, has reached the outbreak category in at least ten Kentucky counties. Fayette County is not on that list currently, but Kraig Humbaugh believes Hep A cases will increase in Lexington. “We know there are cases in counties around the central Kentucky area and it’s probably just a matter of time until we see more cases here,” said Humbaugh. 

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A Hepatitis A outbreak growing in the Louisville area since last summer reached a new peak recently with a travel advisory from Indiana health officials. They told Hoosiers heading to Kentucky to get a Hep A vaccine.

Soon, Kentucky’s Acting Commissioner for Public Health Dr. Jeffrey Howard was pushing back.