March 5, 2019
Dear Healthcare Provider,
To date, the statewide hepatitis A outbreak has sickened more than 180 Lexington residents, most within the past 4 months. The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department needs your help in quickly identifying suspected hepatitis A cases in the community so that we can reach household members and other close contacts to recommend vaccinations to them. If hepatitis A vaccine is administered within two weeks of exposure, even one dose may prevent illness in contacts over 12 months of age.
Please prioritize reporting of suspected cases of hepatitis A to public health authorities. If a case is suspected, contact the local health department in the patient’s county of residence within 24 hours, in accordance with 902 KAR 2:020. For Fayette County residents, please fax a completed Kentucky Reportable Disease Form (EPID200) to the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department at 859-288-7512.
The EPID200 form should include the following information in order for epidemiologists to confirm an acute hepatitis A case.
• Initial hepatitis A testing (lgM anti-HAV)
• A comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP) (for ALT and bilirubin levels)
• Symptoms of acute viral hepatitis (e.g., jaundice/scleral icterus, fever, headache, malaise, anorexia, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, or dark urine).
Sharing relevant protected health information with the local health department as part of a public health investigation does not require patient permission and does not violate the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Please see the attached HIPAA laws and EPID200 form for reference.
We appreciate your continued diagnosis and treatment of patients with hepatitis A, and thank you for encouraging more residents to be vaccinated against the virus. Your continued efforts are essential to helping curb the current outbreak.
Molly J. Roberts
Lexington-Fayette County Health Department