BLOOMINGTON -- The Monroe County Health Department declared a public health emergency Wednesday because of an increase of hepatitis C, which is primarily contracted through intravenous drug use.
Monroe County Health Department Administrator Penny Caudill says the declaration is the first step to create a needle exchange. The numbers of hepatitis C cases in the county have increased over 50 percent since 2009.
“We want to be proactive and do what we can to be proactive and do what we can to protect peoples’ safety and their lives,” Caudill said.
Caudill says Monroe County is in the top 10 for Indiana counties with the highest number of hepatitis C cases.
The next step is a public hearing and then a request for a needle-exchange program from the state.