Kentucky Derby fans may need to take extra precautions before going to the races.
The Indiana State Department of Health recommends that its residents be vaccinated against hepatitis A and take other steps to protect themselves from the disease. Travel to Kentucky or Michigan, both experiencing major outbreaks of viral infection.
Kentucky has reported more than 300 cases of hepatitis A since November 2017, with 39 new cases reported in the first week of April, according to the Kentucky Department of Public Health. Most cases in this state have occurred in Louisville – the city where the Kentucky Derby takes place. The famous horse race, which attracts more than 1
"At popular tourist events in other states, we know that many Hoosiers travel to areas affected by hepatitis A and we want them to be safe," said Indiana's Deputy Health Minister Pam Pontones in a statement , "Having vaccinated and thoroughly washed before and after preparing food and eating and after using the toilet is a simple, safe and effective way to prevent the spread of hepatitis A."
But do you really need a hepatitis A vaccine? when you go to the Kentucky Derby?
Dr. Amesh Adalja, a senior scientist at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, said the Indiana recommendation was an interesting move and it's not a bad idea. "I can see why they would advise it," Adalja said. "It's a simple measure that can minimize risks." [27 Devastating Infectious Diseases]
At the same time, Adalja Live Science said that the risk of hepatitis A is probably not very high for the average derby user. A number of recent US hepatitis A outbreaks, including those in Kentucky, have been reported by homeless and illicit drug users, a group that may have limited access to clean toilets and hand washing facilities that prevent the spread of hepatitis A. Hepatitis A.
But hepatitis A outbreaks can also be caused by contaminated foods, Adalja noted – for example, when food workers become infected with the disease and handle food without having to wash their hands thoroughly. (The Kentucky Hepatitis A outbreak has not been linked to contaminated food, although it was recently reported that a McDonald's employee in Berea, Kentucky, south of Lexington, had the infection and could potentially pass it on to customers When Kentucky derby visitors want to minimize their risk of contracting the disease, "the vaccine is one way to do that," Adalja said.
Hepatitis A is a contagious liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The virus is spread via the "fecal-oral" route – that is, when small amounts of stool from a sick person contaminate items, food, or drinks that are then touched and picked up by another person, the CDC says. For this reason, thorough hand washing – especially after using the bathroom or changing a baby's diaper or before eating – can help reduce the risk of someone getting hepatitis A, according to the Mayo Clinic.
It is important to note that the Indiana announcement is not a nationwide recommendation. In general, the CDC recommends the hepatitis vaccine for children aged 1 year and for adults who may be at higher risk for hepatitis A or complications from the disease. These include travelers to countries where hepatitis A is prevalent, people who use recreational drugs, people with chronic liver disease, men who have sexual contact with other men, and people who have direct contact with others who have hepatitis A.
The CDC says that ideally, a person should receive the hepatitis vaccine for two weeks or more before embarking on their journey, but the vaccine may offer some protection at any time prior to travel.
Adalja found that a number of Americans are already vaccinated against hepatitis A. The vaccine was first approved in 1995 and was recommended for all US children from 2006 onwards. But that would still leave many adults unvaccinated, unless they already have the vaccine for travel or because they belong to a group that has a higher risk of contracting the disease.
The symptoms of hepatitis A infection usually do not appear until two to six weeks after infection and include fever, fatigue, nausea and nausea, dark yellow urine, joint pain and jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), according to CDC  People with an infection usually get better without specific treatment, but in some cases even better infection can lead to liver failure, especially in older adults or people who have other liver disease, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Original article on Live Science .