Regional Hep An Outbreak Linked to Ohio Valley Addiction Crisis
By: Mary Meehan | Ohio Valley ReSource
A hepatitis A outbreak that has been growing in the Louisville area since last summer recently reached a new high with a travelogue by Indiana health officials. They called on Hoosiers to go to Kentucky to receive Hep A vaccine.
Soon Kentkings Deputy Commissioner for Public Health Jeffrey Howard back.
"Let me say it's safe to travel to Kentucky It's safe to visit the Kentucky Derby," Howard said on the state's official YouTube channel.
Howard, of Kentucky, said the disease control centers are tracking Hep A outbreaks in five states that show this unusual transmission. This means that Hep A is now overdose, Hep C and HIV health threats related to the addiction crisis. And the surveillance and treatment efforts are complicated by the regional nature of the infection.
"The biggest challenge we face is when outbreaks cross state borders," he said. He referred to an ongoing investigation into a group of HIV cases in northern Kentucky, which included many commuter communities in Cincinnati. This outbreak is also linked to drug use. "For the first time in Kentucky history, we had HIV transmission, with the most common risk factor being intravenous drug use," he said.
He also predicts more outbreaks linked to the addiction crisis.
There will be more and more outbreaks in the coming months and years, "he said.
Gupta said death is relatively rare in Hep A. But the disease can be severe and last for several weeks Fever, tiredness, nausea, vomiting, dark urine, jaundice, clay-colored bowel movements and joint pain.
There are some hopeful signs: First, the best prevention is a good hand wash with soap and water, and second, Hep A vaccine Since the introduction of the vaccine in 1995, hepatitis A cases have declined by more than 95 percent in the US
The CDC targets the supply of the most vulnerable areas and says that manufacturers All regional health officials with whom the ReSource had contact said the vaccines were sufficient.
Dr. James Gaskell is the Health Commissioner of the Ministry of Health of the City of Athens in Ohio. He said when recent outbreaks came out, he had his staff check the available supplies.
Gaskell is confident that an outbreak can be contained. But he said there are constant barriers to treatment in rural areas, barriers hampered by an increase in infectious diseases.
"Communication is sometimes a problem in Appalachians, even in today's world," he said.
Dr. Kraig Humbaugh is the Fayette County, Kentucky, health commissioner and previously served as epidemiologist Kentucky. He said it was hard to tell the true extent of an outburst.
"That's true in almost every type of epidemic," he said. "There is always a certain percentage of cases that are hidden or unrecognized."
For example, an outbreak linked to imported foods in 2016 led to a 45 percent increase in cases of hepatitis A in the US to about 2,000 cases. After adjusting for undercollection, the CDC estimated the actual number of new infections in 2016 at nearly 4,000.
Humbaugh said the current outbreak will draw more attention to the associated health problems in the region, and this could lead to more federal aid
"Unfortunately, there are human costs and financial costs, but it seems we have more Get attention. "
These costs are likely to rise as the addiction crisis becomes more contagious disease outbreaks through the Ohio Valley.
ReSource reporter Aaron Payne contributed to this report.