Louisville Records 5th Hepatitis A Death, 9th Statewide

Sarah Moyer director of the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness speaks on hepatitis A

Sarah Moyer director of the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness speaks on hepatitis A

A Utah hepatitis A outbreak has killed three people since spreading from San Diego previous year, but it's on the wane even as other states deal with similar outbreaks, health officials said Thursday. There were no cases of hepatitis A among Northern Kentucky residents previous year.

A fifth person has died in Louisville from hepatitis A, according to the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness.

Though the Utah outbreak isn't over yet, the number of new cases has slowed down to a few per week, compared to up to a dozen at its height, said Jeffrey Eason with the Utah State Health Department. To date, there have been 225 cases reported in Ohio. It attacks the liver and causes symptoms including abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea, fever and jaundice, health officials say.

The state has also reported more than 1,300 infections and over 750 hospitalizations. The third death happened in the last two weeks and remains under investigation, said Nicholas Rupp with the Salt Lake County Health Department.

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The disease is spread through contact with fecal matter and poor hygiene.

Effective July 1, 2018, all students in kindergarten through 12th grade must show proof of having received two doses of Hepatitis A vaccine.

While it is relatively uncommon for restaurant patrons to become infected with the hepatitis A virus due to an infected food handler, anyone who consumed food or drinks at Newport Syndicate during the stated time period is advised to get a hepatitis A vaccination.

Health officials have said the outbreak has primarily affected homeless people and individuals who use illegal drugs. The vaccine is available at most doctor's offices, pharmacies and retail clinics, and people should speak with their healthcare provider about getting vaccinated. NKY Health can also provide the vaccine at its county health centers to those on Medicaid and to those who do not have insurance, as well as those who have insurance that does not cover the vaccine.

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