Kentucky continues to report outbreak cases of hepatitis A as the state has reported the most cases of any in the US.
Through May 4, 4,621 outbreak cases have been recorded, including 2,233 people that required hospitalization since mid-2017.
In addition, 57 deaths have been liked to the viral infection have been reported, accounting for approximately 1/3 of hepatitis A fatalities nationally.
To date, 22 states have declared outbreaks since 2016. Since that time, more than 17,000 cases reported and at least 170 deaths as a result of hepatitis A virus (HAV) infection have been reported.
The hepatitis A vaccine is the best way to prevent HAV infection. One dose of single-antigen hepatitis A vaccine has been shown to control outbreaks of hepatitis A and provides up to 95% seroprotection in healthy individuals for up to 11 years.
The CDC says the following groups are at highest risk for acquiring HAV infection or developing serious complications from HAV infection in these outbreaks and should be offered the hepatitis A vaccine in order to prevent or control an outbreak:
- People who use drugs (injection or non-injection)
- People experiencing unstable housing or homelessness
- Men who have sex with men (MSM)
- People who are, or were recently, incarcerated
- People with chronic liver disease, including cirrhosis, hepatitis B, or hepatitis C