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Hepatitis A on the decline, people still taking precautions against the virus

Health Department setting up a vaccination shop
Posted: 3:27 PM, Jul 12, 2019
Updated: 2019-07-12 17:42:36-04
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — While the state’s hepatitis A numbers have dropped over the last six months the health department does not want anyone thinking the epidemic is over. The Health Department set up a vaccination “shop” inside the Fayette County Detention Center, a place where people are more likely to transmit the virus, on Friday.

As a state, hep A numbers have decreased since their peak and vaccinations are linked to the main cause for improvement. This reason is why the health department continues to administer them especially in jails and detention centers.

“Last summer the requirement went into effect for school-aged children, children in daycare and schools,” Jill Keys, the Clinical Services Officer at the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department said. “So that's something that's helped get more children vaccinated. Adults don't have the requirement.”

Hep A has claimed the lives of 58 Kentuckians since it’s on-set two years ago. Inmates voluntarily lined up to protect themselves from the virus. The hep A vaccine is a series of two shots at least six-months apart, it can be longer but not shorter. The vaccination is intended to give you a lifetime of immunity from the virus.

“They are very appreciative,” Keys said. “A majority of the people will take it, some ask questions... very few refuse the vaccine.”

As of the end of June, the state confirmed more than 47,000 hep a cases since 2017, but saw a sharp decline in new cases beginning back in February.