FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – The Kentucky Department for Public Health says the state is dealing with an outbreak of acute hepatitis A cases.
The department says 31 cases of acute Hepatitis A have been reported throughout Kentucky in 2017, with 19 of those cases in Jefferson County.
The state has averaged 20 cases per year over the past 10 years.
The Kentucky Department for Public Health, the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness and other health departments have been working to stop the spread of Hepatitis A in the region.
Common risk factors of homelessness or drug use have been identified among 12 of the cases in Jefferson County.
No deaths have been tied to this outbreak.
Health officials say the State Health Operations Center has been placed on a Level 3 to help coordinate the public health response. They are working to identify anyone who has been exposed to cases associated with this outbreak and urging those experiencing symptoms of the illness to contact their healthcare provider for appropriate evaluation and medical treatment, if necessary.
Acute hepatitis A comes on suddenly and is a serious and potentially life-threatening infectious disease.
Signs and symptoms of Hepatitis A include jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes), dark-colored urine, fatigue, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, nausea, diarrhea and fever.
The virus is found in the stool of people infected with Hepatitis A and is usually spread from person to person by putting something in the mouth (even though it might look clean) that has been contaminated with the stool of a person infected with Hepatitis A. It is often transmitted when people do not wash their hands properly or by eating uncooked or undercooked food.
Not everyone with the acute Hepatitis A virus infection will develop symptoms, however, if symptoms do develop, they may include fever, jaundice or yellowing of the skin, vomiting, fatigue, and grey-colored stools. Persons with symptoms should seek medical care for prompt diagnosis and treatment.
Additional information about Hepatitis A is available from the CDC at .