Wednesday January 16, 2019
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Protect Yourself And Family Visiting For Thanksgiving

Photo: Louisville Metro Public Health And Wellness

The Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness is reminding residents to get immunized against hepatitis A and the flu.

“While we have seen some encouraging trends in Louisville with the number of new hepatitis A cases falling over the past six months, the hepatitis outbreak isn’t over yet,” said Dr. Sarah Moyer, director of the Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness and the city’s chief heath strategist. “In other areas of the state, new cases have grown quickly. In fact, nearly 80% of Kentucky counties have a hepatitis A outbreak. If you haven’t already done so, please get immunized against hepatitis A, especially considering all the travelling people do during the Thanksgiving holidays.  Protect yourself and your family.  Get immunized!”

“Also, please get a flu shot’” said Dr. Moyer. “Last year 49 people in Louisville died of the flu and its complications.  So, when you’re out getting your hep A shot, get a flu shot as well.”

As the hepatitis A outbreak continues to spread throughout Kentucky and the surrounding region, new cases per day in Louisville fell for the sixth month in a row. New cases in Louisville have fallen from more than four per day in April to less than one per day in October.  October’s new case per day rate of 0.58 was close to the same (0.39) as what it was in October 2017, before the outbreak was declared.

As of November 3, Kentucky had 2,545 hepatitis A cases and 17 deaths spread out over ninety-four counties.  By comparison, Louisville had 634 cases (as of November 13) and five deaths.  While Louisville once had the overwhelming majority of Kentucky’s hepatitis A cases, it now has less than 25% of the state’s cases.

More than 83,000 hepatitis A immunizations have been given across Louisville since the outbreak was declared, nearly 21,000 by Public Health and Wellness alone.  The CDC has called Louisville’s response to the outbreak “the gold standard” for other cities to emulate.

Hepatitis A immunizations are widely available at local pharmacies and health care providers.  The cost is covered by most insurance plans. People should check with their health insurance provider on where the insurer prefers that they go to get the vaccine and what, if any, cost might be associated with it.

For information on where to obtain the hepatitis A vaccine for those insured or uninsured, CLICK HERE.

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