Hepatitis A lingers in Louisville, but southern Indiana's outbreak has slowed

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Hepatitis A continues to linger in Louisville, according to a recent tweet from the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness.

Months ago, it was thought the city had reached a "plateau," but since then, Jefferson County's 613 cases still top all other Kentucky counties. There are more than 1,200 cases across the rest of Kentucky.

"We're just a walking bridge away from Hep A over there," said Amelia Johns, a public health nurse at the Clark County Health Department.

Across the Ohio River, Johns has also battled the outbreak. In southern Indiana, Clark County has 75 cases currently, which is the second highest tally in the state.

"It is a virus that affects the liver," she said. "It attacks your liver. It is acute."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hepatitis A is usually transmitted person-to-person through the fecal-oral route or through consumption of contaminated food or water.

"I think just the risk overall, I mean, if you come in contact with it, you could be off work for several weeks," Johns said.

In Louisville, city leaders are urging anyone in an outbreak area to get a vaccine. The same goes for Clark County.

"With insurance, you can come to the local health department here and get it," Johns said. "You can also go to your local pharmacy and get it or your doctor's office."

In Clark County, Johns does have some good news. The cases have slowed down to one a week, if that, which means the so-called "plateau" may be for real this time, at least in Clark County.

"We've been really proactive," Johns said. "We've been out. We've been vaccinating. We've been educating. Education is a huge factor."

You can find more information about the disease and where you can get a vaccination, whether or not you have insurance, here or here.

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