Three deaths reported in Kentucky Hepatitis A outbreak

The Kentucky Department for Public Health announces there have been three deaths from Hepatitis A in Kentucky. (Photo: CDC/Betty Partin)

The Kentucky Department of Public Health (KDPH) reported there have been three deaths associated with the Hepatitis A outbreak in the state.

There have been 352 outbreak-associated cases, 246 hospitalizations and three deaths, according to a news release from the department. The counts were collected through April 14.

The KDPH is recommending vaccinations for children and adult residents in Greenup, Carter, Boyd, Jefferson, Bullitt and Harden counties.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said similar outbreaks usual peak after about six to eight months. KDPH does not expect a shorter duration.

Hepatitis A virus is primarily spread through fecal-oral transmission. The virus can also be spread by sexual contact with someone who has Hepatitis A. Risk factors for cases reported in the current Kentucky outbreak primarily are homelessness and injection drug use. As long as unvaccinated people continue to come in contact with contaminated environments or have at-risk activities, the virus will continue to spread, the KDPH said.

Health officials said Hepatitis A is a communicable disease of the liver caused by the virus. Most adults experience symptoms of fatigue, low appetite, stomach pain and nausea that resolve within two months of infection. The best way to prevent the infection is to get vaccinated.

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