Kentucky, Indiana latest states to report hepatitis A outbreaks

May 2, 2018, 12:54 AM | Updated: Jun 7, 2022, 4:01 pm

Hepatitis A virus (HAV). HAV causes an often asymptomatic hepatitis (in 90% of cases) and is almost...

Hepatitis A virus (HAV). HAV causes an often asymptomatic hepatitis (in 90% of cases) and is almost always benign. It is transmitted enterally (contaminated water and food). Image produced using high-dynamic-range imaging (HDRI) from an image taken with transmission electron microscopy. Viral diameter around 20-30 nm. (Photo by: BSIP/UIG via Getty Images)

(Photo by: BSIP/UIG via Getty Images)

(CNN) — Kentucky and Indiana have become the latest states to experience hepatitis A outbreaks.

The Kentucky Department for Public Health has identified 400 cases since August and declared a statewide outbreak in November.

Seventy-six cases have been identified in Indiana since November, 69 of them in 2018 alone, according to the state’s Department of Health.

No cases have resulted in deaths in Indiana, but there have been three in Kentucky this year.

Both states see an average of about 20 cases of hepatitis in a typical year, health officials said.

While both states are taking measures to address the problem, the number of cases continues to rise. In Kentucky, almost 120 cases were identified in March and another 80 in April. In Indiana, 39 cases were diagnosed in March, and about 13 cases a week were diagnosed in April.

Hepatitis A is a highly contagious live disease. The virus is found in the feces of people with the disease and is most frequently transmitted by eating food or drinking water handled by someone who has not properly washed their hands. It’s also transmitted by sex and by illicit drug use.

The most common symptoms include nausea, vomiting, fever, fatigue, loss of appetite and jaundice, or yellowing of the skin or eyes. It can take 15 to 50 days for symptoms to appear; however, an infected person is most contagious during the two weeks before their skin turns yellow.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the hepatitis A virus is very hard to kill and can live for months outside the body. Hand sanitizers are not effective against it, so frequent handwashing is crucial in controlling any outbreak.

In both Indiana and Kentucky, officials said they have seen an increased number of hepatitis A cases among people who are homeless and those using drugs. Indiana has also seen increased number of cases in people who had been incarcerated.

Outbreaks across the country
Michigan, Utah, Colorado and California have seen increases in hepatitis A cases over the past year.

Testing shows a connection between some of the outbreaks. In Kentucky, several cases of hepatitis A show a virus strain that is genetically linked to the outbreaks in California and Utah, according to a state Department for Public Health report. In Indiana, the genotype found in two hepatitis A cases matches the genotype in ongoing outbreaks in Arizona, Kentucky, California, Michigan and Utah, according to the state Department of Health.

A vaccine for hepatitis A was created in 1995, but many adults have not been vaccinated. A shortage of the vaccine, which can prevent infection from the virus, at the beginning of the year affected states trying to fight these outbreaks.

Attempts at prevention
Both Kentucky and Indiana are trying to get a handle on the outbreaks. While doctors are identifying cases, state officials are working to provide both the public and health care workers with information and resources to fight the spread of the virus.

Indiana’s health department is providing hepatitis vaccines to high-risk groups, like people who are homeless or use drugs. Officials have distributed 5,000 vaccines to these populations in the past few months, said Pam Potones, deputy state health commissioner.

Indiana didn’t require vaccination for school entry until 2014, so many adults may not be unvaccinated, Potones said.

Kentucky’s health department is recommending that the vaccine be a requirement for school entry in the upcoming year. It is also providing vaccines to at-risk populations through public health initiatives like syringe exchange programs and community vaccination events, according to Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services spokeswoman Barbara Fox.

Though a food transmitter has not been identified in the outbreaks in Kentucky or Indiana, food is one of the most common ways the virus is spread. Indiana’s health department has provided information to every food establishment in the state on how to prevent outbreaks and what to look for in people who may have the virus.

™ & © 2018 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

KSL 5 TV Live


The USS Carney shot down two Houthi drones headed in the ship’s direction in the southern Red Sea...

Haley Britzky and Hamdi Alkhshali, CNN

USS Carney shoots down drones, responds to ballistic missile attack on commercial vessel

The USS Carney shot down two Houthi drones headed in the ship’s direction in the southern Red Sea on Sunday and responded to a distress call from a civilian commercial vessel that was fired upon by a ballistic missile, a US defense official said.

30 minutes ago

People walk past advertised Black Friday discount signs at the Macy's retail store inside the Queen...

Sergio Padilla, CNN

While Black Friday and Cyber Monday did well, Giving Tuesday lagged

Americans seemed more willing to spend money on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but less willing to donate money on Giving Tuesday.

2 hours ago

Alaska Air (ALK) on Sunday announced it will buy rival Hawaiian Airlines (HA) for $1.9 billion. (R...

Eva Rothenberg, CNN

Alaska Air to buy Hawaiian Airlines for $1.9 billion

Alaska Air (ALK) on Sunday announced it will buy rival Hawaiian Airlines (HA) for $1.9 billion.

2 hours ago

Theodore "Ted" Conrad was an unassuming bank teller when he strolled out of an Ohio bank with more ...

Faith Karimi, CNN

Father to daughter on his deathbed: He was a bank robber, fugitive

Two months before he died of lung cancer in 2021, Thomas Randele made a shocking confession to his wife and daughter: He’d been living under a fake name for almost five decades after robbing an Ohio bank of $215,000.

5 hours ago

FILE: French police have arrested a man suspected of killing one person and injuring two others in ...

Chris Liakos, Heather Chen and Mitchell McCluskey, CNN

One dead, two injured in Paris knife and hammer attack near Eiffel Tower

 (CNN) — French police have arrested a man suspected of killing one person and injuring two others in a knife and hammer attack in central Paris. The attack took place at Bir Hakeim, near the Eiffel Tower, France’s Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin told reporters at the scene on Saturday night. He said that the man arrested […]

19 hours ago

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, left, speaks during an event for his GOP presidential campaign as his wi...

Steve Contorno and Veronica Stracqualursi, CNN

DeSantis, all-in on Iowa, finishes 99-county tour where he started

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis completed his tour of Iowa’s 99 counties on Saturday.

21 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

Design mockup half in white and half in color of luxury house interior with open plan living room a...

Lighting Design

Lighting Design 101: Learn the Basics

These lighting design basics will help you when designing your home, so you can meet both practical and aesthetic needs.

an antler with large horns int he wilderness...

Three Bear Lodge

Yellowstone in the Fall: A Wildlife Spectacle Worth Witnessing

While most people travel to this park in the summer, late fall in Yellowstone provides a wealth of highlights to make a memorable experience.

a diverse group of students raising their hands in a classroom...

Little Orchard Preschool

6 Benefits of Preschool for Kids

Some of the benefits of preschool for kids include developing independence, curiosity, and learning more about the world.

Kentucky, Indiana latest states to report hepatitis A outbreaks