Kentucky is in the midst of a public health crisis with a hepatitis A outbreak, but it is important for people not to overreact.
Nelson County Jail has had one confirmed case. There are several counties, including Jefferson, Hardin, Bullitt, Greenup, Carter and Boyd, that have had so many confirmed cases that health officials in April urged everyone living in them to get vaccinated. Since that warning, there have been more than 150 more cases in Louisville, alone.
In a typical year, Kentucky has about 40 confirmed cases.
Health officials say there have been no people they have confirmed were infected from a restaurant, although there have been several food workers who have been diagnosed with hepatitis A. That’s because by law the health department must announce when a food worker has been confirmed infected.
Hepatitis A is a highly contagious liver infection caused by a virus. A person is most likely to be infected with hepatitis A from contaminated food or water or from close contact with a person or object that is infected, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Symptoms include fatigue, sudden nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain or discomfort, loss of appetite, clay-colored bowel movements, low-grade fever, dark urine and joint pain, among others. Symptoms can be mild and go away in a few weeks, or could lead to serious illness that lasts several months.
The best way to fight the spread of the disease it to wash your hands.
Starting next school year, every student will be required to be vaccinated against hepatitis A. It requires an initial inoculation and then a booster six months later.
There is no reason to delay in vaccinating your child. It also would make sense to get your own, as well.
— The Kentucky Standard, Bardstown