State public health recommends Boyd, Greenup, Carter residents get Hep A vaccine

Evarado Alatorre
Abril 17, 2018

The Kentucky Department of Public Health is now recommending that everyone in Louisville and even some surrounding counties to get the hepatitis A vaccine.

"Hepatitis A is a vaccine-preventable illness", acting DPH commissioner Dr. Jeffrey Howard said, "DPH recommends all children, ages 1 year through 18, receive the Hepatitis A vaccine as well as adults who want to protect themselves from an acute hepatitis A infection".

The affected counties are Jefferson, Bullitt, Hardin, Greenup, Carter, and Boyd. "In these counties with local transmission of the hepatitis A virus, we recommend everyone be vaccinated per guidelines to help stop this outbreak".

As of Monday, 214 cases have been confirmed in Jefferson County. Bullitt, Hardin, Greenup, Carter, and Boyd counties have each reported 5 or more cases for a total of 311 cases associated with the outbreak.

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One death has been reported statewide.

For adults, the vaccine is typically given in two doses: an initial vaccination followed by another six months later. Effective July 1, 2018, all Kentucky students in kindergarten through 12th grade must receive two doses of the Hepatitis A vaccine to attend school or receive a provisional certificate of immunization (unless their parents claim an exemption).

For people who do have contact with a person with Hepatitis A virus, Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) is recommended by the CDC for unvaccinated people who have been exposed to hepatitis A virus in the previous 2 weeks. The disease often is transmitted when people do not wash their hands properly or do not have access to proper sanitation. Most adults with hepatitis A have symptoms, including fatigue, low appetite, stomach pain, nausea, and jaundice, that usually resolve within 2 months of infection. Though cases have mostly been among high-risk people, namely the homeless and drug users, the outbreak has drawn concern among the general public lately because of cases popping up here and elsewhere at places like restaurants and supermarkets.

The local department and the University of Louisville Global Health Center recently teamed up to offer hepatitis A shots at a discounted price of $25 per shot to food-service and hospitality industry workers.

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