State Health Officials Address Hepatitis A Concerns For Kentucky

Indiana reports increase in hepatitis A cases, vaccinations urged for travelers to other states

Three dead, hundreds sickened in Kentucky Hepatitis outbreak

"With popular tourist events coming up in other states, we know many Hoosiers will be traveling to areas impacted by hepatitis A, and we want them to be safe", said Deputy State Health Commissioner and State Epidemiologist Pam Pontones.

"One is the initial dose and then one is six months later".

Since January, Indiana has seen at least 77 cases.

"It's got to be like a 100-day period. without cases related to the outbreak before we would even think about considering this outbreak over, and I don't think that's going to happen anytime soon", Sutfin said.

The Kentucky Hepatitis A outbreak has infected more than 300 people across multiple counties and killed at least three. IN is also reporting a larger number of hep A infections this year compared with 2017, leading public health experts there to push vaccines for those who haven't already received immunizations. However, anyone who may be at risk, especially food handlers in schools, hospitals, restaurants, correctional institutions and other facilities that serve large numbers of people, is urged to get vaccinated.

He says the company brought in extra vaccine in response to the hepatitis A outbreak and widespread concern. Neighboring states are also seeing spikes in the virus.

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There are a lot of ways hepatitis A can spread - health officials say to be sure to wash your hands and avoid close contact with infected people - but the best defense is to get vaccinated.

Some of the symptoms include: low-grade fever, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, clay-colored stool, dark urine and abdominal pain.

A person who has Hepatitis A is infectious two weeks before they began exhibiting symptoms and then about a week after the symptoms start.

"Those populations include folks with injection and non-injection drug use history, individuals who were recently incarcerated, as well as men who have sex with men", Sutfin said.

"The Hepatitis A vaccination is often covered by insurance plans".

In addition to being available at local health departments, the vaccine is available at the primary care offices at the TJ Health Pavilion, said Bart Logsdon, a spokesperson for TJ Regional Health.

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