Hepatitis A outbreak: 10 cases confirmed in Floyd County and more than 150 in Louisville

Indiana health officials have confirmed 10 cases of hepatitis A in Floyd County, including one linked to the Bob Evans in New Albany, as the outbreak in Louisville continues in the city and across the river.

The Floyd County Health Department is working with the state department of health to investigate the cases, according to a news release, and county officials are working to identify and notify those who may have been exposed.

People who ate at the Bob Evans in New Albany between Feb. 20 and March 9 and begin to develop symptoms of the viral liver infection are advised to seek medical attention.

Kentucky’s outbreak of hepatitis A is centered in Jefferson County, which has more than 150 cases — a significant increase in a state that typically sees about 20 cases per year. Dave Langdon, a health department spokesman, said Friday morning the city had confirmed 159 cases.

The outbreak was declared in November, when there were just 19 cases in Louisville, and officials said at the time that common risk factors included homelessness or drug use.

Since then, at least two employees in the food service industry were added to the city’s list of victims and more than 20 cases identified in Southern Indiana prompted the temporary closure of one school district’s campus, which includes three Henryville schools. They returned to school as normal on Monday.

The Clark County health officer said Friday there were 29 cases in Clark County, up from 25 last week.

“It’s almost like one big general outbreak in Kentuckiana,” Dr. Eric Yazel said, adding that the county was treating the cases with the highest level of precaution.

The disease, caused by a virus, tends to hit adults hardest. Symptoms usually last less than two months, but between 10 and 15 percent of victims remain sick for up to six months.

According to Dr. Lori Caloia, Louisville’s medical director, common symptoms include yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes; fever and body aches; stomach pain, nausea and vomiting; and darker urine and lighter-colored stools.

Louisville officials urge people to consider getting the vaccine, which is covered by most insurance plans and offered at Kroger and Walgreen pharmacies.

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