State Health Commissioner Jerome Adams, M.D., M.P.H., Frday declared a public health emergency for Fayette County, allowing the county health department to establish a syringe exchange program as part of a broader effort to reduce the spread of Hepatitis C.

Image/Video Screen Shot
Image/Video Screen Shot

“Fayette County is battling a Hepatitis C epidemic tied to intravenous drug use,” said Dr. Adams. “County officials have submitted a comprehensive, multi-pronged plan to combat this epidemic, and a syringe exchange is one part of this effort to help reduce the spread of this devastating disease.”

Senate Enrolled Act 461 made syringe exchange programs legal in Indiana for the first time, under certain circumstances, a declared epidemic of hepatitis C being one of them.

In March, Governor Mike Pence signed an Executive order, which among other things, temporarily suspends the Indiana Code on needle exchange within Scott County during the HIV outbreak.

The declaration of public health emergency will run through Aug. 13, 2016.

Dr. Adams has previously declared public health emergencies in Madison County and Scott County.

Robert Herriman is a microbiologist and the Editor-in-Chief of Outbreak News Today

Follow @bactiman63