KENTON COUNTY, Ky. (WLWT) There is a serious health warning in Northern Kentucky Friday night, one that could potentially affect everyone in the region.
That area is experiencing a spike in hepatitis A.
Cases of the virus are way up and health officials want residents to heed their advice.
The situation has reached a point where all residents of Northern Kentucky are being encouraged to get vaccinated.
As of Thursday, the Northern Kentucky Health Department reported at least 200 cases of hepatitis A.
That’s four times the number that was recorded as of this past August. The sharp increase included two deaths.
By way of comparison, Northern Kentucky had no cases of hepatitis A last year.
It can rapidly infect an area if not checked. The virus spreads when an infected person does not properly wash his or her hands after using the restroom.
The most common risk factors involve illicit drug use and homelessness which can cause a false sense of security to a large portion of the population as Dr. Lynn Saddler of the Health Department explained Friday.
“We tell folks you may not have those risk factors, but you may have been in close personal contact with someone who does and someone who may, may not be having symptoms, may be having symptoms, but aren’t yet full-blown but so they may be infectious and you may have been exposed and you’re not going to know it,” she said.
Northern Kentucky school children are already required to be vaccinated.
Dr. Saddler suggested everyone else follow suit to be on the safe side.
The vaccine is given in two doses six months apart and is available at most medical offices and pharmacies.