In a follow-up on the hepatitis A outbreak in Kentucky, the Kentucky Department for Public Health (KDPH) has identified 448 confirmed cases of acute hepatitis A since Aug. 17.
Of this total, 315 people (70%) required hospitalization for their illness. The number of fatalities has risen to four.
In November 2017, the Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) identified an outbreak of acute hepatitis A. The increase in cases observed in Kentucky was well over the 10-year average of reported hepatitis A cases, and several cases have been infected with HAV strains genetically linked to outbreaks in both California and Utah.
Similar to hepatitis A outbreaks in other states, the primary risk factors remain homelessness and illicit drug use. A contaminated food source has not been identified, and HAV transmission is believed to be occurring through person-to-person contact.
KDPH is working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local health departments to provide guidance and education to health professionals and at-risk populations. Treatment for acute hepatitis A generally involves supportive care, with specific complications treated as appropriate. Hepatitis A is a vaccine-preventable disease.