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Working To Slow Kentucky’s Hepatitis A Outbreak

Posted: 12:23 PM, Dec 16, 2018
Updated: 2018-12-16 12:23:19-05

BEREA, Ky. (LEX 18) — The Kentucky Artisan Center Cafe in Madison County has reopened after a food worker there was diagnosed with hepatitis A.

This is yet another case in a commonwealth-wide outbreak that is now into its second year.

Nearly 100 of Kentucky’s 120 counties have reported at least one case. That’s according to statistics from the Kentucky Department for Public Health and the data are alarming.

As of Dec. 8, the department had received more than 3,100 cases of hepatitis A dating back to August 2017. The department said more than half of the cases required hospitalization.

Nineteen people have died as a result of the outbreak.

The primary risk factors remain illegal drug use and homelessness, and the disease can be transmitted through contaminated food or drink.

Health officials say not enough people are getting vaccinated.

“More than 10,000 have been given, but when you consider we have more than 300,000 people here in Lexington … we’re just getting started,” said Kevin Hall of the Lexington Fayett County Health Department. “This is not going to go away until people get protected with the vaccinations. Community, immunity. And the more people who get protected, the less likely it is to spread.”

The vaccine is available at most pharmacies and medical providers. You can also call your local health department for more information.