LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The number of hepatitis A cases in Kentucky continues to rise, and health officials say anyone who hasn’t been vaccinated can be considered ‘at-risk.’
Most cases are not traced back to restaurants. Instead, they’re traced back to drug users. But the cases aren’t just from drug users who inject themselves. Health officials said many cases are being reported after the hep. A sufferer shares marijuana with others.
“We’re seeing new cases with marijuana use. and it’s probably more likely in the community that there are more marijuana users than they are injecting-drug-users,” Kevin Hall with the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department said.
So far, the state is reporting a total of over 1850 hepatitis A cases in 89 Kentucky counties since the outbreak began last November. There have been 14 deaths and 56% percent of the cases involved hospitalizations.
Louisville Metro had approximately 613 cases of hep. A.
“The best way to prevent hepatitis A is to get vaccinated,” said Commissioner of Health Dr. Kraig Humbaugh in a statement. “The vaccine is effective and has an excellent track record. However, most adults have not yet been immunized since the vaccine was not given routinely as part of their childhood schedule of shots.”