FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Laura Brinson
NKY Health Declares End to Region’s Hepatitis A Outbreak
FLORENCE, Ky. — 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 which 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 hand washing 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,” stated 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 https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/hav/afaq.htm
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The Northern Kentucky Health Department provides high quality public health services to more than 400,000 residents of Boone, Campbell, Grant and Kenton Counties, with a goal of preventing disease, promoting wellness and protecting against health threats. The Health Department seeks to be a nationwide leader in public health, and was one of the first in the country to earn national public health accreditation. For more information, visit www.nkyhealth.org.