Norton Healthcare is working to combat Louisville’s hepatitis A outbreak by making vaccinations available to employees and vaccinating high-risk patients in our Emergency Departments.
“This is a little out of the ordinary. We don’t normally vaccinate in the ED setting,” said Paul S. Schulz, M.D., medical director, Infection Prevention, Employee Health and Antimicrobial Stewardship.
Front-line staff and food service workers were prioritized for hepatitis A vaccinations.
“We wanted to make sure as an organization we did everything we could not to pass hepatitis A to a patient,” Dr. Schulz said.
As of June 20, there were 478 cases and three deaths associated with Louisville’s hepatitis outbreak, according to the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness.
Louisville’s outbreak has been primarily among intravenous drug users and the homeless, according to Dr. Schulz.
Hepatitis A is associated with poor sanitation and hygiene. It is transmitted through contaminated food or drink, or by direct contact with someone who has hepatitis A. Proper hand hygiene is important for preventing hepatitis A infection.
Symptoms include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, dark urine, light-colored stools, joint pain and jaundice. A person with the virus can be contagious for two weeks before showing symptoms.
For more information, contact Dr. Schulz at firstname.lastname@example.org.