FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) – Two people have died from complications related to the hepatitis A infection, the Franklin County Health Department confirms.
Both individuals had underlying medical conditions that contributed to the severity of their infections.
As of October 20, Franklin County has experienced 28 total cases of hepatitis A related to
the larger statewide and national hepatitis A outbreak. These are the first two deaths in Franklin
Kentucky has reported a total of 2,275 cases from 94 Kentucky counties with 14 total
deaths in the state, which is less than 1% of the cases. There have been 1,209 hepatitis A
hospitalizations in Kentucky.
Primary risk factors for this hepatitis A outbreak continue to be illicit drug use and homelessness.
Other identified risk factors include recent imprisonment and volunteering or socializing with
drug using, homeless or recently imprisoned populations. A contaminated food source has not
been identified, and hepatitis A transmission is believed to have occurred through person-toperson
In Kentucky specifically, 40 cases have been associated with homelessness; 1,209 cases have
been associated with illicit drug use; 213 cases have been associated with both homelessness and
illicit drug use; and 405 cases have had no outbreak-related risk factors.
Hepatitis A is a viral infection of the liver that can cause loss of appetite, nausea, tiredness, fever,
stomach pain, brown colored urine, and light colored stools. Yellowing of the skin or eyes may
also appear. People may have some or none of these symptoms. It could take up to seven weeks
after being exposed to the virus for someone to become ill.
Hepatitis A usually spreads when a person unknowingly ingests the virus from objects, food or
drinks contaminated by small, undetected amounts of stool from an infected person. The virus