Kentucky is experiencing the worst Hepatitis A outbreak in the nation.
With 4,288 cases reported including 2,065 (48%) hospitalizations and 44 deaths reported through March 2, 2019.
The Lake Cumberland region has a total of 129 cases; 50 in Taylor, 50 in Pulaski, 15 in McCreary, 5 in Casey, 3 in Adair, 3 in Green, 2 in Russell County and 1 in Wayne.
The majority of cases have been reported among those who use illicit drugs and/or are homeless. A contaminated food source has not been identified and transmission is believed to have occurred through person to person contact. Transmission of the virus occurs via oral contact with contaminated hands or objects.
Symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, jaundice, fatigue and fever. Individuals are contagious 2 weeks before and 1-2 weeks after symptom onset. The average incubation period of Hepatitis A is 4 weeks.
Hepatitis A is vaccine preventable and can be largely prevented with good hand washing habits. In order to prevent the outbreak from spreading in Lake Cumberland, anyone who uses illicit drugs (both injection and non-injection), and the homeless should be vaccinated immediately.