• Bob Vlach, Woodford Sun Staff

Amidst statewide outbreak, no cases of hepatitis A here

There are no reported cases of hepatitis A in Woodford County, Public Health Director Cassie Prather said last Friday. This comes as Kentucky’s hepatitis A outbreak was identified as the worst in the country last week, state health officials confirmed to the Associated Press.

Of at least 969 confirmed cases of hepatitis A in Kentucky, 484 cases were reported in Louisville, according to public health officials.

“Since the populations who are most at-risk are the homeless and those who are illicit drug users,” said Prather, “we’re focusing our efforts towards those populations.” She said one avenue for helping illicit drug users avoid the virus is through the Woodford County Health Department’s needle exchange program.

The local health department has not received any state funding assistance for preventative measures because there are no cases of hepatitis A here, Prather said. She said hand washing was the best way to protect against getting the hepatitis A virus, spread through contact with surfaces, food and drinks.

“There should be no real concern (here about contracting the virus) at this point, but just know that these folks (who are homeless or illicit drug users and therefore more susceptible to getting the virus) can receive their hepatitis A vaccine for no cost. Your insurance will pay for it at no cost,” said Prather. “… And it’s a very safe vaccine. It’s one of the safest out there.” She said vaccination clinics have been conducted for local restaurants that have reached out to the Woodford County Health Department, which would be notified within 24 hours of a case hepatitis A being confirmed here.

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