Ky.’s hepatitis A outbreak is over 3,000 cases. It may be slacking off, but it’s done that before. Advice: wash hands, get vaccinated.

Kentucky’s hepatitis A outbreak appears to have hit a plateau or even be slacking off, but it has made such moves before, and then resurged. And the state continues to record about 60 new cases a week. The state Department for Public Health has logged 3,122 cases from September 2017, the start of the outbreak, through the first week of December 2018.

That being said, the department’s most recent weekly report showed the largest one-week drop in reported cases since the outbreak began, to levels that haven’t been that low in five months. The biggest single week was in late October.

The outbreak has been blamed for the deaths of 19 Kentuckians, “and 82 percent of Kentucky’s 120 counties have reported at least one case,” Lexington’s WKYT-TV reports. “More than half of the cases have led to patients being hospitalized. . . . Carter County has the highest incident rate per capita.”

Hepatitis A is transmitted by oral contact with fecal matter, and there is no cure, so authorities urge hand washing and vaccinations. The disease attacks the liver and causes symptoms including abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea, fever and yellowing of the skin.

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