Hepatitis A outbreaks that have been crippling states across the nation since March of 2017 continue to wreak havoc in several cities.
Hepatitis A outbreaks that have been crippling states across the nation since March of 2017 is continuing to wreak havoc in several cities.
In fact, in Louisville, Kentucky, alone has reported 507 cases and 3 deaths linked with the virus as of July 2, 2018. Meanwhile, in the bordering state, Tennessee, there have been 36 cases of acute hepatitis A confirmed in the Nashville area.
In one particular case in Ashland, Kentucky, a food preparation worker at a convenience store was diagnosed with hepatitis A, leading local and state health officials to issue a warning to customers who had visited the store between March 22 and April 7 to be aware of potential exposure to hepatitis A.
Since an outbreak was declared in Kentucky in November 2017, the Kentucky Department of Health has recommended that any person living in the Louisville area or any county where there has been a confirmed case of hepatitis A should be vaccinated. This comes after it was concluded that 10% of the cases in Tennessee occurred in individuals who did not exhibit risk factors.
As of July 2, the Louisville Department of Health reports that the hepatitis A vaccine has been administered to 77,534 individuals located in the region surrounding Louisville, including 6,000 food service workers.
Additionally, as of June 23, 27 counties in the state of Kentucky have confirmed cases of hepatitis A and 63 counties have reported cases. In total, there have been 964 cases reported across the state, 566 hospitalizations, and 6 hepatitis A-related deaths. Kentucky has surpassed Michigan to become the state with the highest number of cases in this outbreak.
Meanwhile, in Nashville, 5 inmates at the Davidson County Correctional Facilities fell ill with hepatitis A according to the Nashville Metro Public Health Department. In response, health officials launched a vaccination series available to all inmates and staff at correctional facilities in Davidson County. Additionally, health officials are offering the hepatitis A vaccination free of charge to homeless members of the population.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lab genotype testing results has confirmed that samples from hepatitis A patients in both Kentucky and Nashville matched the strain of hepatitis A found in the recent outbreaks around the country.
Since 2006, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) has recommended that all American children receive the hepatitis A vaccine between 12 and 23 months of age. Additionally, individuals with a higher risk of hepatitis A infection, such as men who have sex with men, those who inject drugs, homeless individuals, and those traveling to countries where hepatitis A is endemic should also receive vaccination.