Kentucky public health officials are aggressively responding to a hepatitis A outbreak, and Jeffrey Howard, Acting Director of the Department of Health, issued a statement on Friday that it is still safe to travel to Kentucky.
Howard Mentioned May
"As you probably know, a small number of districts in our state are a hepatitis A outbreak," Howard said.
"In the Public Health Department we are aggressively responding to the situation, in fact, while working with the Centers for Disease Control, or CDC, on this issue, they have called our response" gold standard. " The CDC has not recommended that people plan to travel Kentucky is first vaccinated.
"However, some misleading information has raised concerns about trips to Kentucky and even Derby," Howard said. "Let me say it's safe to travel to Kentucky, and it's safe to visit the Kentucky Derby."
The highly contagious virus can easily contaminate food, drinks, kitchen surfaces and food preparation and serving utensils when an infected person touches them. A number of restaurant and foodservice staff in Kentucky and other states have been positive, potentially revealing anyone who ate or drank from these facilities. Hepatitis A vaccinations are not compulsory for food service workers. Infected people are usually contagious before the hepatitis A virus develops symptoms.
Kentucky had associated 352 cases with the break, including 246 people requiring hospitalization and three having been declared since the November outbreak. The risk of contracting hepatitis A is highest among those at high risk, including the homeless and drug addicts.
Signs and symptoms of hepatitis A include yellowing of the skin or eyes, dark-colored urine, fatigue, abdominal pain loss of appetite, nausea, diarrhea and fever. Microscopic amounts of the virus are found in the stool of people who are infected with hepatitis A and are typically transmitted via food or transmitted through human-to-human contact.
While there are no travel restrictions, the CDC recommends children's vaccines, people at risk, and those living in an outbreak area who want to be protected. Kentucky's vaccine recommendations are in line with these CDC recommendations, Howard said.
The Kentucky Health Department recommends vaccinations for children over 1 and for and adult residents of the Jefferson, Bullitt, Hardin, Greenup, Carter and Boyd districts  Although the majority of outbreak cases in Kentucky, as well as several other states in the outbreak Among homeless or drug addicts, the Kentucky Health Alert reported at least 30 percent of victims in the state are still not in any of the high-risk groups
The hepatitis A virus is mainly spread by fecal-oral transmission. The virus can also be transmitted through close personal contact or sexual contact with someone who has hepatitis A. As long as people who have not been vaccinated continue to come into contact with contaminated environments or take risks, the virus will continue to spread, Howard said in the statement.
"We need to increase vaccination rates and the adherence to good hand hygiene practices to reduce the spread," according to his statement.
Howard said the CDC has advised similar outbreaks usually peak after six to eight months
Nationwide, the outbreak has injured 1,200 people and killed more than 40.
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