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Health officials urge caution as hepatitis A persists



LEXINGTON, Kentucky (WKYT) – The Kentucky Department of Public Health has counted more than 300 hepatitis A cases – and one death – since the recent outbreak last fall.

These include 41 new cases, according to the DPH website in the first week of April. The bulk of the eruption takes place in two large groups: in the far east of Kentucky and in Louisville, experts said. Health officials are urging people in these districts to vaccinate themselves.

Despite the outbreak, the number of cases in Lexington has remained small. The Lexington-Fayette Co. Health Dept. said it has spent about 100 vaccines on vulnerable groups, including inmates, homeless people and drug addicts.

At major events in Louisville, health officials are coming in for question about the outbreak there. The city is installing more handwashing stations for Thunder Over Louisville this weekend ahead of the Kentucky Derby in early May.

Indiana's State Health Department warns Hoosiers of the Kentucky outbreak and urges anyone who travels to the state to get vaccinated.

DR. Ryan Stanton, an emergency physician from Lexington, said the outbreak of the state was worrisome, but people should not worry too much about it.

"Do not stay up late or lose sleep because the risks are still very low," Dr. Stanton. "Still, the most dangerous things we do in the daytime are to be in our bathroom and drive in our cars."

Dr. Stanton said the Hepatitis A vaccine needs two vaccinations every six months to fully immunize people. He said a more immediate step is to be careful of places with salad bars and uncooked food, to clean your products well, and, of course, to wash your hands ̵

1; especially after going to the bathroom and preparing food.


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