Amid outbreak, Kentucky residents flocking to get hepatitis A va - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Amid outbreak, Kentucky residents flocking to get hepatitis A vaccinations

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There are a lot of ways hepatitis A can spread -- health officials say to be sure to wash your hands and avoid close contact with infected people -- but the best defense is to get vaccinated. There are a lot of ways hepatitis A can spread -- health officials say to be sure to wash your hands and avoid close contact with infected people -- but the best defense is to get vaccinated.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Thus far in the hepatitis A outbreak across Kentucky, three people have died and more than 300 have been infected.

There are a lot of ways hepatitis A can spread -- health officials say to be sure to wash your hands and avoid close contact with infected people -- but the best defense is to get vaccinated.

"You'd rather than be safe than sorry," said Jessie Mudd, who was getting the vaccine at the Meijer Pharmacy on Preston Highway on Monday afternoon.

Mudd said that shot in the arm was her way of being safe.

"It is scary," she said.

Mudd is one of thousands of people across the state going to doctors' offices, clinics and pharmacies to get the hepatitis A vaccination.

"They brought in a lot of extra vaccine," said Bruce Salyer, store director at the Meijer on Preston Highway. "The last few weeks, we've had a lot of people come in."

He says the company brought in extra vaccine in response to the hepatitis A outbreak and widespread concern.

"It has really kind of prompted everybody to go in," he said. "You've got kids, you've parents -- all coming in to get their shots. It just continues to rise every day."

State health officials have confirmed more than 300 cases in Kentucky. That includes the three fatalities.

"About 2-to-3 percent of people, so 2-to-3 out of 100 people who get hepatitis A will actually die from it, on average," said Dr. Lori Caloia, medical director of the Metro Department of Health and Wellness.

Dr. Caloia said, despite the outbreak and concern, there is no travel advisory for Kentucky. However, Indiana health officials have issued a warning.

"I think probably out of an abundance of caution for their residents," Dr. Caloia said. "Again, the Centers for Disease Control is typically the organization  would look to for that guidance -- and they haven't issued that yet."

Hepatitis A is a highly contagious liver infection. Some of the symptoms include: low-grade fever, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, clay-colored stool, dark urine and abdominal pain.

"I think it's a good idea to get vaccinated against hepatitis A," Dr. Caloia said.

Dr. Caloia said some people need the vaccine more than others.

"Anyone who has other forms of hepatitis, so whether that's hepatitis B, hepatitis C or other forms of liver disease," she said.

The hepatitis A vaccine comes in two doses. If you get one now, the other is due in six months. After that, you are covered for life.

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