Monroe County is now part of a multi-state hepatitis A outbreak.
New data from the Indiana State Department of Health shows there are 334 Hepatitis A cases associated with the outbreak. Five of them are in Monroe County.
The liver infection is highly contagious and spreads through fecal-oral means.
Penny Caudill is administrator for the Monroe County Health Department. She expects to see an increase in cases locally, but says they’re taking steps to prevent widespread infection.
“We went to the Monroe County Jail, we’ve went to the Shalom Center, we’ve went to Indiana Recovery Alliance, part of the syringe exchange program, we’re going to some other facilities as well to help people who might not otherwise be able to get vaccinated,” Caudill says.
The state says private and public health providers have administered more than 900 Hepatitis A vaccines in Monroe County. Statewide, more than 54,000 vaccinations have been issued.
Caudill says the health department treats Hepatitis A like any other communicable disease.
“Whether it’s Hepatitis A or another communicable disease, we make sure that if there are close contacts that need to be treated or followed that we do that,” she says.
In addition to getting a vaccine, Caudill says proper hand washing helps prevent Hepatitis A.