In November 2017, the Kentucky Department for Public Health identified an
outbreak of hepatitis A. The increase in cases observed in Kentucky is well
in excess of the 10-year average for reported hepatitis A cases and several cases have been infected with strains genetically linked to outbreaks in California and Utah. Similar to hepatitis A outbreaks in other states, the primary risk factors with Kentucky cases remain homelessness and illicit drug use. A food source has not been identified and transmission is believed to be occurring through person-to-person contact. You can keep track of outbreak data with our weekly updates.
Healthcare providers should prioritize hepatitis A identification and reporting in their at-risk patients. Should hepatitis A be suspected, contact local or state public health within 24 hours in accordance with 902 KAR 2:020. Specimens for molecular testing should also be considered. For more information, please see the clinical advisories and laboratory guidance.
Vaccination of at-risk individuals remains our best means of control. Please consider hepatitis A vaccination in accordance with ACIP recommendations. For additional information, see the hepatitis A CDC recommendations.
Facilities that come in contact with at-risk populations should implement disinfection procedures are effective against hepatitis A. DPH recommends institutions review disinfection procedures to ensure products being used are both, effective against hepatitis A and being used in accordance with the manufacturer’s label. For more information, see disinfection guidance.