Hepatitis A: Get vaccination, wash your hands for prevention

(Updated Aug. 2, 2019) Hepatitis A is a liver disease that can easily be passed from person to person and can be spread through close contact with someone infected with it. Washing your hands with soap and warm water after using the bathroom, changing a diaper or before making food and drinks can help stop the spread of hepatitis A.

More than 4,790 cases have been reported across Kentucky since the fall of 2017, compared to around 20 cases that are typically recognized each year. There have been 59 deaths associated with hepatitis A in this outbreak. Though the outbreak was initially centered in the Louisville area, outbreak-related cases have now been reported in 110 counties across the state, including Fayette. Learn more about which counties have hepatitis A in this Kentucky hepatitis A report.

The best prevention is with a hepatitis A vaccination. The hepatitis A vaccine, given in two doses six months apart, is available from some medical providers and many pharmacies in Lexington and is covered by most insurance plans. The vaccine is also available at the health department’s Public Health Clinic by appointment. Call 859-288-2483 to check availability and to schedule an appointment. You can learn more in our Hep A Q&A!

Starting in the 2018-19 school year, Kentucky students are required to have the vaccination. Please check with your medical provider to see if your child has been vaccinated.

Good handwashing can also help control the spread of hepatitis A. Consistent and careful handwashing, including under the fingernails, for at least 20 seconds with soap and water can help stop the spread of the virus.

You can learn more about hepatitis A in this interview from Healthy Times, our radio show on Lexington Community Radio: hepatitis A interview.

Hepatitis FAQs

Please check out our new page with frequently asked questions about hepatitis A: hepatitis A FAQs.

Information for Providers

  • The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department is urging providers to vaccinate all adult patients against hepatitis A, not just those in a high-risk category.
  • Consider providing Twinrix® to those who have previously not been vaccinated for hepatitis B.
  • Per Immunization Regulation 902 KAR 2:060, two doses of hepatitis A (HepA) vaccine will be required for all children aged 19 months through 18 years who attend daycare, primary and secondary school beginning on or after July 1, 2018 for the 2018‐2019 school year. Children aged 12 months through 18 months will require one dose of HepA vaccine. Providers should now catch‐up children aged two years and older to assure hepatitis A immunity.

Community Flyers

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Wash Your Hands

What You Should Know

High-Risk Groups

 

Health department to spray for mosquitoes July 23

To help control mosquitoes, the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department will conduct mosquito-spraying activities in the pre-dawn hours on July 23 in parts of the 40505 and 40511 ZIP codes. The spraying is due to a high mosquito population found in a monitoring trap in the 40505 ZIP code region. To provide adequate spray coverage of the area, portions of 40511 ZIP code will also be sprayed.

Spraying will be done between 3-6 a.m. Tuesday. For spraying to occur, the wind speed must be less than 10 mph, the temperature must be greater than 55o F and there can be no rain or dense fog. The mosquito spray used by the health department only affects adult mosquitoes that are in the air at the time of spraying. The health department uses Duet, an EPA-approved agent that features a component that stimulates resting mosquitoes in trees and foliage, causing them to fly into the air and come into contact with the spray’s mosquito-killing agent, sumithrin. Duet has been rigorously tested for human and animal safety and is registered for outdoor residential and recreational areas.

Lexington residents can also take steps at home to fight mosquitoes:

  • Mosquito-proof your home and yard. Fix or install window and door screens. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water. Cover or eliminate empty containers with standing water. Limit the number of places around your home for mosquitoes to breed by getting rid of items such as tires, buckets, barrels and cans. Refresh the water in your pet’s water dishes and birdbaths at least every five to seven days.
  • Be aware of peak mosquito activity times. The twilight hours around dusk and dawn are times of peak mosquito activity. Use insect repellent when outdoors especially during peak activity times, including early morning hours. Look for EPA-labeled repellents containing active ingredients, such as DEET, Picaridin (KBR3023) or oil of lemon eucalyptus (p-menthane 3,8-diol). Apply repellent according to label instructions. When weather permits, wear long sleeves, long pants and socks outdoors. Mosquitoes can bite through thin clothing, so spraying clothes with repellent containing permethrin or another EPA-registered repellent helps prevent bites.

The health department also conducts surveys in neighborhoods around Lexington to identify standing water problems that can serve as a location for mosquitoes to lay their eggs. Elimination of standing water is the ultimate goal, but in areas where standing water cannot be eliminated the water can be treated to kill mosquito larvae with a chemical called a larvicide.

To report a standing water problem in your neighborhood, please call the health department’s Environmental Health section at (859) 231-9791. For additional information, like the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department on Facebook at www.facebook.com/LFCHD, or follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/LFCHD and Instagram at @lexpublichealth.

Health department to spray for mosquitoes July 16

To help control mosquitoes, the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department will conduct mosquito-spraying activities in the pre-dawn hours on July 16 in the 40504 ZIP code. The spraying is due to a high mosquito population found in a monitoring trap in the 40504 ZIP code region.

Spraying will be done between 3-6 a.m. Tuesday. For spraying to occur, the wind speed must be less than 10 mph, the temperature must be greater than 55o F and there can be no rain or dense fog. The mosquito spray used by the health department only affects adult mosquitoes that are in the air at the time of spraying. The health department uses Duet, an EPA-approved agent that features a component that stimulates resting mosquitoes in trees and foliage, causing them to fly into the air and come into contact with the spray’s mosquito-killing agent, sumithrin. Duet has been rigorously tested for human and animal safety and is registered for outdoor residential and recreational areas.

Lexington residents can also take steps at home to fight mosquitoes:

Mosquito-proof your home and yard. Fix or install window and door screens. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water. Cover or eliminate empty containers with standing water. Limit the number of places around your home for mosquitoes to breed by getting rid of items such as tires, buckets, barrels and cans. Refresh the water in your pet’s water dishes and birdbaths at least every five to seven days.

Be aware of peak mosquito activity times. The twilight hours around dusk and dawn are times of peak mosquito activity. Use insect repellent when outdoors especially during peak activity times, including early morning hours. Look for EPA-labeled repellents containing active ingredients, such as DEET, Picaridin (KBR3023) or oil of lemon eucalyptus (p-menthane 3,8-diol). Apply repellent according to label instructions. When weather permits, wear long sleeves, long pants and socks outdoors. Mosquitoes can bite through thin clothing, so spraying clothes with repellent containing permethrin or another EPA-registered repellent helps prevent bites.

The health department also conducts surveys in neighborhoods around Lexington to identify standing water problems that can serve as a location for mosquitoes to lay their eggs. Elimination of standing water is the ultimate goal, but in areas where standing water cannot be eliminated the water can be treated to kill mosquito larvae with a chemical called a larvicide.

To report a standing water problem in your neighborhood, please call the health department’s Environmental Health section at (859) 231-9791.

For additional information, like the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department on Facebook at www.facebook.com/LFCHD, or follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/LFCHD and Instagram at @lexpublichealth.

Update: Health department to spray for mosquitoes July 11

Due to equipment issues, the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department was unable to complete mosquito spraying on July 10. The issues have been resolved and mosquito spraying will continue 3-6 a.m. on July 11 in parts of the 40505 and 40511 ZIP codes. The spraying is due to a high mosquito population found in a monitoring trap in the 40505 ZIP code region. To provide adequate spray coverage of the area, portions of 40511 ZIP code will also be sprayed.

For spraying to occur, the wind speed must be less than 10 mph, the temperature must be greater than 55o F and there can be no rain or dense fog. The mosquito spray used by the health department only affects adult mosquitoes that are in the air at the time of spraying. The health department uses Duet, an EPA-approved agent that features a component that stimulates resting mosquitoes in trees and foliage, causing them to fly into the air and come into contact with the spray’s mosquito-killing agent, sumithrin. Duet has been rigorously tested for human and animal safety and is registered for outdoor residential and recreational areas.

Lexington residents can also take steps at home to fight mosquitoes:

  • Mosquito-proof your home and yard. Fix or install window and door screens. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water. Cover or eliminate empty containers with standing water. Limit the number of places around your home for mosquitoes to breed by getting rid of items such as tires, buckets, barrels and cans. Refresh the water in your pet’s water dishes and birdbaths at least every five to seven days.
  • Be aware of peak mosquito activity times. The twilight hours around dusk and dawn are times of peak mosquito activity. Use insect repellent when outdoors especially during peak activity times, including early morning hours. Look for EPA-labeled repellents containing active ingredients, such as DEET, Picaridin (KBR3023) or oil of lemon eucalyptus (p-menthane 3,8-diol). Apply repellent according to label instructions. When weather permits, wear long sleeves, long pants and socks outdoors. Mosquitoes can bite through thin clothing, so spraying clothes with repellent containing permethrin or another EPA-registered repellent helps prevent bites.

The health department also conducts surveys in neighborhoods around Lexington to identify standing water problems that can serve as a location for mosquitoes to lay their eggs. Elimination of standing water is the ultimate goal, but in areas where standing water cannot be eliminated the water can be treated to kill mosquito larvae with a chemical called a larvicide.

To report a standing water problem in your neighborhood, please call the health department’s Environmental Health section at (859) 231-9791. For additional information, like the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department on Facebook at www.facebook.com/LFCHD, or follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/LFCHD and Instagram at @lexpublichealth.

LFCHD Community Farmers’ Market returning July 10

Healthy food options will soon be a bit easier thanks to the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department and the city’s two farmers’ markets.

Starting July 10, the health department will bring farmers from the Bluegrass Farmers’ Market and the Lexington Farmers’ Market together to give the community a chance to buy fresh fruits and vegetables. The LFCHD Community Farmers’ Market will begin 8 a.m.-1 p.m. July 10 at the health department’s south location, 2433 Regency Road.

The farmers’ markets will alternate locations in July and August:

  • 8 a.m.-1 p.m. July 10, 2433 Regency Road
  • 8 a.m.-1 p.m. July 24, 650 Newtown Pike
  • 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Aug. 14, 2433 Regency Road
  • 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Aug. 21, 650 Newtown Pike

For additional information, like the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department on Facebook at www.facebook.com/LFCHD, or follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/LFCHD and Instagram at @lexpublichealth.

Safety tips will help during holiday and summer picnics

One out of every six people get sick from a foodborne illness each year, and a few extra precautions can help keep your summer meals, cookouts and picnics illness-free this year.

The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department wants to increase awareness of food safety as people head into the summer picnic season. The following food safety guidelines can help you prevent the spread of food-borne illness from picnic meals shared with family and friends:

  • Keep hands clean. Wash hands before eating or preparing food, after using the restroom, between handling raw and ready-to-eat items and after handling pets. Wash with hot soapy water and dry with paper towels.
  • Clean and sanitize surfaces often. To sanitize surfaces, use a solution of regular household bleach and warm water. Add about 1 tablespoon of bleach to 2 gallons of water for the right concentration. Sanitize by first washing and rinsing the surface and then immerse, spray or swab with the bleach solution.
  • Separate – don’t cross-contaminate. Separate raw foods from ready-to-eat foods. Use different cutting boards or wash, rinse and sanitize after contact with raw meat, poultry and seafood. Never use the same plate for holding raw meat and transporting cooked meat.
  • Be sure to wash all produce thoroughly before use. Thoroughly clean the outer surface before slicing and keep work surface and utensils clean and sanitized. Handle all cut melons carefully, including cantaloupe and watermelon. Promptly refrigerate sliced melon at 41 degrees Fahrenheit or lower.
  • Follow the cooking guidelines listed below for proper meat preparation. Cook food to the proper internal temperature. Always check the internal temperature of cooked foods with a metal-stemmed thermometer and cook another 15 seconds after the thermometer indicates it has reached the proper temperature.

 Ground beef: 160 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 seconds

Poultry and stuffed meats: 165 degrees F for 15 seconds

Pork products: 145 degrees F for 15 seconds

Other products: 145 degrees F for 15 seconds

Reheating leftovers: 165 degrees F for 15 seconds

  • Refrigerate leftovers promptly. Leftovers should be cooled and maintained within four hours at 41 degrees Fahrenheit or lower or frozen at zero degrees or lower. When you are unsure how long leftover food has been out of proper serving temperature, a good rule of thumb to follow is “when in doubt, throw it out!”

Fight the Bite: eliminate mosquitoes this summer

This summer, the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department plans to control mosquito populations in the community by bringing increased focus to eliminating standing water and preventing mosquito larvae from hatching. At the same time, the department will use mosquito trapping to identify areas where spraying for adult mosquitos would be most useful.

The health department has surveyed Lexington neighborhoods to identify and treat large areas of standing water that can serve as prime locations for mosquitoes to lay their eggs. Elimination of standing water is the ultimate goal, but in places where puddles exist, the water can be treated to kill mosquito larvae with a chemical called a larvicide.

“We are increasing activities to kill mosquito larvae in areas where standing water cannot be drained,” said Luke Mathis, Environmental Health and Preparedness team leader at LFCHD.  “Targeting immature mosquitoes is a more effective control strategy as it stops mosquitoes from developing into adults that can feed on humans and transmit mosquito-borne diseases like Zika and West Nile.”

The health department will no longer conduct routine mosquito spraying for adult mosquitoes throughout the city on a regular cycle. Instead, mosquito traps will be placed in potential problem areas. If a certain threshold of mosquito activity is reached, the department will conduct targeted spraying in the appropriate areas. Those areas will be announced via the health department’s website, www.lexingtonhealthdepartment.org, and social media pages.

For spraying, the health department uses Duet, an EPA-approved agent that features a component that stimulates resting mosquitoes in trees and foliage, causing them to fly into the air and come into contact with the spray’s mosquito-killing agent, sumithrin. Duet has been rigorously tested for human and animal safety and is registered for outdoor residential and recreational areas.

Lexington residents can also take steps at home to fight mosquitoes:

● Mosquito-proof your home and yard. Fix or install window and door screens. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water. Cover or eliminate empty containers with standing water. Limit the number of places around your home for mosquitoes to breed by getting rid of items such as tires, buckets, barrels and cans. Refresh the water in your pet’s water dishes and birdbaths at least every five to seven days.

● Be aware of peak mosquito activity times. The twilight hours around dusk and dawn are times of peak mosquito activity. Use insect repellent when outdoors especially during peak activity times, including early morning hours. Look for EPA-labeled repellents containing active ingredients, such as DEET, Picaridin (KBR3023) or oil of lemon eucalyptus (p-menthane 3,8-diol). Apply repellent according to label instructions. When weather permits, wear long sleeves, long pants and socks outdoors. Mosquitoes can bite through thin clothing, so spraying clothes with repellent containing permethrin or another EPA-registered repellent helps prevent bites.

“The battle against mosquitoes starts at every residence in Fayette County,” Mathis said. “By eliminating standing water, even something as small a capful of rain in your yard, you can remove areas for mosquitoes to lay eggs. It’s important for people to walk around their homes to see what they can do to help curb the mosquito population.”

To report a standing water problem in your neighborhood, please call the health department’s Environmental Health section at (859) 231-9791. For additional information, like the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department on Facebook at www.facebook.com/LFCHD, or follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/LFCHD and Instagram at @lexpublichealth.Previous ArticleNow Offering Family Planning

Pertussis cases confirmed in Lexington

New cases of pertussis are being confirmed in Lexington schools, and the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department continues to work with Fayette County Public Schools to make parents aware of the threat of pertussis.

Pertussis is a highly contagious respiratory illness spread by coughing and sneezing. It affects people of all ages but can be most serious in infants and those with chronic diseases.

The health department is recommending preventive antibiotics for high-risk students who were exposed to pertussis. This includes students with a chronic illness or weakened immune system and those who live in households with the following: a family member with a chronic illness or weakened immune system, an infant or a pregnant woman.

Any school-age children with symptoms of pertussis should stay home from school and visit their health care provider for evaluation, even if they have previously been vaccinated. If found to have probable or confirmed pertussis, they should remain out of school until completion of their antibiotics. For more information about pertussis, call 859-288-2437.

The early symptoms are similar to a common cold: runny nose, sneezing, low-grade fever and coughing. After 1-2 weeks, the cough often gets worse, changing from a dry, hacking cough to bursts of uncontrollable, sometimes violent, coughing. During a coughing episode, it might be temporarily impossible to take a breath because of the intensity and repetition of the coughs. When finally able to breathe, the person might take a sudden gasp of air, which can cause a “whooping” sound. Vomiting and exhaustion can often follow a coughing spell.

The vaccine against pertussis is routine and required for school-age kids. One dose of the booster vaccine, called Tdap, is recommended for ages 11 and above for protection. Teenagers and adults who have never received the Tdap vaccine should check with their primary care provider or call the health department at 859-288-2483 to check availability. Although the vaccine is effective, immunity tends to decrease over time, making the booster important for older children and adults.

Be sure to like the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

LFCHD seeking Dr. Rice C. Leach Public Health Hero nominations

It is time to nominate people for the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department’s Dr. Rice C. Leach Public Health Hero Award. The award, now in its 16th year, is for individuals who have demonstrated their dedication to improving the health of Lexington residents.

Criteria for the selection of the award include:

  • Exemplary leadership and diligence in promoting public health;
  • Remarkable contributions and support in fostering public health programs; and
  • Work or actions that have impacted the community’s health in a positive way.

The Lexington-Fayette County Board of Health renamed the award in 2016 in honor of the late Dr. Rice C. Leach “so future generations will know what a true public health super hero is.” Leach, who served as Lexington’s Commissioner of Health for five years, died in April 2016 following a battle with cancer.

Past winners include Dr. Svetla Slavova (2018), Kentucky State Sen. Reginald Thomas (2017), Dr. Leach (2016), Dr. Susan Pollack and Marian F. Guinn (2015), the Rev. Willis Polk and Baby Health Service (2014), Anita Courtney and Teens Against Tobacco Use (2013); Vickie Blevins-Booth and Jay McChord (2012); Jill Chenault-Wilson and Dr. Malkanthie McCormick (2011); Dr. Jay Perman (2010); the Lexington Lions Club (2009); Dr. David Stevens and the late Dr. Doane Fischer (2008); Dr. Ellen Hahn, Mary Alice Pratt and Therese Moseley (2007); Dr. Andrew Moore and Rosa Martin (2006); Jan Brucato and Dragana Zaimovic (2005); and Dr. John Michael Moore, Ellen Parks and Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government (2004). Dr. Robert Lam received a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007.

If you know of someone, please provide the following information:

  • Name, professional title and organization;
  • Phone number and e-mail address of nominee; and
  • Examples of why the person is worthy of the award. Descriptions should be no more than 200 words.
  • Your name and contact information

Nominations can be submitted here: Dr. Rice C. Leach Public Health Hero nomination.

The deadline for submitting candidates is 4 p.m., Thursday, Feb.28.

The Lexington-Fayette County Board of Health will make the final determination. The winner will receive special recognition from the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government. The awards are given each April as part of National Public Health Week.

Health department offers safety tips as temperature dips

During the cold weather, stay indoors whenever possible. However, if you must go outside, dress warmly in layered clothing, including a hat, scarf or knit mask to cover your face and mouth, sleeves that are snug at the wrist, mittens, a water-resistant coat and water-resistant boots. Avoid exertion, as cold weather puts an extra strain on the heart. People with heart disease or high blood pressure should follow their doctor’s advice about shoveling snow or performing other activities in the snow. When outside, avoid walking on ice, and keep your steps and walkways as free of ice as possible.

Be on the lookout for signs of hypothermia and frostbite, two common cold weather-related health problems. Warning signs of hypothermia, which is abnormally low body temperature, include shivering, exhaustion, confusion, fumbling hands, memory loss, slurred speech and drowsiness. If you detect symptoms of hypothermia, seek medical care immediately. Get the victim into a warm room and remove any wet clothing. Warm the center of the body first with an electric blanket, if available. Otherwise, use skin-to-skin contact under loose, dry layers of blankets, clothes, towels or sheets. Warm beverages can help increase the body temperature, but do not use alcoholic beverages.

Warning signs for frostbite, or an injury to the body caused by freezing, include redness or pain in any skin area, white or grayish-yellow skin, skin that feels unusually firm or waxy and numbness. If you detect symptoms of frostbite, seek medical care immediately. Get the victim into a warm room, and immerse the affected area in warm – not hot – water. Do not rub the frostbitten area with snow or massage it, as this can cause more damage. Do not use a heating pad, heat lamp or the heat of a stove, fireplace or radiator for warming, as the frostbitten areas are numb and can be easily burned.

These procedures are not substitutes for medical care, and all emergencies should be reported to a physician or health care provider. To learn more about winter weather tips, visit the CDC’s website.