According to the Department of Public Health, the city of Louisville, KY has become a city under attack from Hepatitis A. While there have been 311 cases reported across the state so far this year, 214 have been confirmed in Jefferson County, where Louisville is located. Because the state only sees around 20 cases per year, state health officials are quite concerned about the marked increase. Therefore, when it comes to Hepatitis A Louisville residents are being encouraged to get vaccinated as soon as possible.
How to Get Vaccinated
Based on the extreme number of cases in the city, acting Department of Public Health Commissioner Jeffrey Howard has urged all parents to make sure their children are properly vaccinated against Hepatitis A. According to Commissioner Howard, this includes children from age one up to 18, as well as any adults who may also be at risk. For those who choose to receive the vaccine, they can get vaccinated in one of several different ways. They can schedule an appointment with their primary care physician, go to an urgent care facility, or get vaccinated at a local hospital or emergency room. Whatever method they select, the good news is that the cost of the vaccine should be covered by most health insurance plans, including those within the Affordable Care Act.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Hepatitis A?
To know whether or not they may have Hepatitis A Louisville residents are urged to pay close attention to a number of different signs and symptoms associated with the disease. According to the city’s Department of Public Health, signs and symptoms of Hepatitis A include skin or eyes that may begin to take on a yellowish color, urine that may begin to get darker, unexplained and sudden fatigue, abdominal pain, gradual loss of appetite, nausea, fever, and diarrhea. For anyone who starts to show any of these symptoms, they are urged to seek immediate medical care at a local emergency room.
How is Hepatitis A Spread?
In most cases, Hepatitis A is spread from one person to another through direct contact. Because the virus is usually found in a person’s stool, the virus is easily spread from person to person when one person uses the bathroom and then fails to wash their hands. Therefore, the Department of Public Health is urging everyone in the area to make sure they wash their hands each time they use the bathroom. By doing so, it’s believed the virus will be able to be controlled somewhat quickly, enabling public health officials to gain the upper hand on the virus.
Even though the vast majority of Hepatitis A cases are located in Louisville and Jefferson County, there are other nearby areas the Department of Public Health is focusing on as well. These include the counties of Hardin, Greenup, Boyd, Carter, and Bullitt. According to Public Health Commissioner Howard, since these counties are close in proximity to Louisville, it’s possible that without proper vaccinations and hygiene procedures being followed, each of these counties could also see a sharp spike in the number of Hepatitis A cases among their residents.
Based on the latest data, Department of Public Health officials expect to be closely monitoring the Hepatitis A outbreak for a minimum of several more weeks, if not months. Currently focused on a statewide health education program to let residents know the signs and symptoms of the virus, along with how and where to get vaccinated, the Department of Public Health and other local officials will continue to take the necessary steps to keep residents safe.
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