Friday, 18 January, 2019

Hepatitis A kills 2 in Frankfort as Kentucky outbreak death toll increases

Hepatitis A kills 2 in Frankfort as Kentucky outbreak death toll increases Two Kentuckians with underlying medical conditions die from Hep A
Gustavo Carr | 03 November, 2018, 16:12

DPH declared a hepatitis A outbreak a year ago. Neither worked in the food service industry.

The virus is being spread from person-to-person, primarily among people who use injection and non-injection drugs (including marijuana), people who are homeless, and their close direct contacts.

In September, the Lexington health department recommenced all residents to get their hepatitis A vaccinations when the number of cases in the region began to surge. "The vaccine is effective and has an excellent track record".

Illness from hepatitis A is typically acute and self-limited, but it can cause serious complications, even death, in people with existing health problems. "However, most adults have not yet been immunized since the vaccine was not given routinely as part of their childhood schedule of shots". None have died in Fayette County.

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Officials with the State Department for Public Health are investigating two recent hepatitis A related deaths in the Frankfort area.

The Franklin County Health Department said the two had medical conditions that made the disease more severe.

Detected by the health department in late February 2017, infectious disease sleuths tracked the first likely case to the week of November 22, 2016. Symptoms include loss of appetite, nausea, tiredness, fever, stomach pain, brown-colored urine, and light-colored stools. It could take up to seven weeks after being exposed to the virus for someone to become ill.

Hepatitis A spreads when someone ingests the virus from objects, food or drinks contaminated by an infected person's stool.