The hepatitis A outbreak in Kentucky, which started 10 months ago and has affected 71 percent of the state’s counties, has grown to 1,562 cases through late August. This includes 63 new cases reported the week ending Aug. 25.
Fifty-six percent, or 881 people required hospitalization for their illness and 12 people died. Jefferson County has accounted to 593 cases, followed by Boyd and Carter counties with 158 and 120 cases, respectively.
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 hepatitis A virus (HAV) strains genetically linked to outbreaks in California, Utah, and Michigan.
Of the 461 cases tested, 91 percent typed as genotype IB.
Similar to hepatitis A outbreaks in other states, the primary risk factors have been illicit drug use and homelessness. A contaminated food source has not been identified, and HAV transmission is believed to have occurred through person-to-person contact.
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