Hepatitis A claims another life in Louisville

Henrietta Strickland
August 18, 2018

A Utah hepatitis A outbreak has killed three people since spreading from San Diego past year, but it's on the wane even as other states deal with similar outbreaks, health officials said Thursday.

The Utah outbreak of the virus began previous year among Salt Lake City's homeless population and illicit drug users, and there were fears it could jump to the general population after restaurant and convenience-store workers were infected.

Even as the spread slows in Utah, hepatitis A has been popping up elsewhere: Kentucky has been hit hard, and outbreaks have also been reported in West Virginia and Tennessee, said Michelle Vowles with the Salt Lake County Health Department.

Of particular concern is a confirmed case of hepatitis A that has been diagnosed in an employee who handled food at the Newport Syndicate, 18 East 5th Street, Newport, KY, when he/she was infectious, which included the dates of July 25 through August 11, 2018.

The Northern Kentucky Health Department is declaring a hepatitis A outbreak.

Hepatitis A is a highly contagious liver infection that can cause fatigue, sudden nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite, low-grade fever, dark urine, joint pain, intense itching, yellowing of the skin and clay-colored bowel movements.

The death occurred within the last few days, Langdon said.

The state has also reported more than 1,300 infections and over 750 hospitalizations.

Hepatitis A usually spreads when a person unknowingly ingests the virus from objects, food, or drinks contaminated by small, undetected amounts of stool from an infected person.

"Hepatitis A infection can be prevented through vaccination and frequent, proper hand washing".

Health officials have said the outbreak has primarily affected homeless people and individuals who use illegal drugs.

The hepatitis A vaccine is given in two doses, six months apart.

The department encourages people who haven't gotten vaccinated to do so and for everyone to wash their hands thoroughly.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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