Kentucky state health officials are reporting more than 3,000 hepatitis A outbreak cases since Aug. 2017.

hepatitis AAs of Dec. 1, the Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) has identified 3,021 hepatitis A cases in the current outbreak. Half of these cases required hospitalization and 19 people have died.

This is up from 2865 cases and 18 deaths on Nov. 24.

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.

Several cases have been infected with HAV strains genetically linked to outbreaks in California, Utah and Michigan. Similar to hepatitis A outbreaks in other states, the primary risk factors remain illicit drug use and homelessness.

A contaminated food source has not been identified and transmission is believed to be occurring through person-to-person contact.