Kentucky health officials push for hepatitis A vaccinations in six counties

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - The Kentucky Department for Public Health is pushing for people to get vaccinations in six Kentucky counties heavily impacted by hepatitis A.

Health leaders are recommending vaccinations for people in Jefferson, Bullitt, Hardin, Greenup, Carter and Boyd counties, as all of those counties have seen at least five cases of the virus.

Kentucky's hepatitis A outbreak has eclipsed 300 cases, and one person has died. 214 cases originated from the Louisville metropolitan area.

Hepatitis A is a vaccine-preventable illness," acting DPH commissioner Dr. Jeffrey Howard said, "DPH recommends all children, ages 1 year through 18, receive the Hepatitis A vaccine as well as adults who want to protect themselves from an acute hepatitis A infection.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended children receive the vaccine, and all Kentucky students in kindergarten through 12th grade are required to receive two doses of the vaccine in order to attend school.

Health experts say signs and symptoms of Hepatitis A include jaundice, dark-colored urine, fatigue, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, nausea, diarrhea and fever.

The Madison County Health Department announced Thursday a Berea McDonald's food handler worked on Mar. 23 while infected with hepatitis A. People who ate there on that date are being asked to watch for symptoms from Apr. 7 through May 12.

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