Health officials confirm hepatitis A outbreak in Kentucky

The Kentucky Department for Public Health officially declared a statewide outbreak of hepatitis A Nov. 21.

While Kentucky has reported an average of 20 hepatitis A cases annually over the last decade, the state has seen 31 confirmed cases in multiple counties throughout the state this year, marking a 50 percent increase.

"Acute hepatitis A is a serious and potentially life-threatening infectious disease," said Jonathan Ballard, MD, state epidemiologist for KDPH. "We are working to identify anyone who has been exposed to cases associated with this outbreak and urging those experiencing symptoms of the illness to contact their healthcare provider for appropriate evaluation and medical treatment, if necessary."

Symptoms of hepatitis A infection include abdominal pain, low-grade fever, nausea, fatigue and jaundice. The virus is highly transmissible and most often spread via contact with fecal matter from an infected individual.

The hepatitis A genotype identified in the Kentucky outbreak is the same genotype responsible for California's ongoing outbreak. The California outbreak caused 644 cases, 420 hospitalizations and 21 deaths as of Nov. 3.

To learn more about hepatitis A, click here.

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Health officials confirm hepatitis A outbreak in Kentucky 

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