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Hepatitis A outbreak in NKY declared over by Northern Kentucky Health Department

With no new cases reported in the past four months, the hepatitis A outbreak in Northern Kentucky has been declared over by the Northern Kentucky Health Department. During the outbreak, which began in August of 2018, there were 319 documented cases of hepatitis A, with four deaths. In 2017, there were 0 cases.

Hepatitis A is a viral liver infection that 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.

NKY Health successfully responded to the outbreak by providing hepatitis A vaccinations in the jails, inspecting food service establishments, educating on proper handwashing and sanitization, and investigating reported cases. Case investigation allowed the health department to identify individuals who may have come into contact with the illness, and provide them with vaccination to prevent becoming sick. During the outbreak, NKY Health vaccinated over 4,600 individuals.

“Even though the current outbreak is over, it is still important to get vaccinated against hepatitis A,” said NKY Health’s District Director of Health, Lynne Saddler, MD, MPH. “Not only will it protect you for the future, but it can also help prevent the future spread of hepatitis A in the community.”

Hepatitis A vaccination is now required to attend school in Kentucky, but adults should be vaccinated as well. Getting two doses at least six months apart can provide life-long protection.

For more information on hepatitis A, please visit this website.

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