Lexington saw 13 new cases of hepatitis A in October, boosting the total number for the community to 35. Close to 75 percent of those cases have required hospitalization, putting the city ahead of statewide averages.
Kevin Hall with the Fayette County Health Department says Lexington is outpacing other communities when it comes to the hospitalization rate of hepatitis A patients, but the reasons aren’t totally clear.
"Really we don't have a good idea of why there's a higher hospitalization rate, other than just we have significantly fewer cases," he explained. "So just on the sheer volume, that's going to decrease the likelihood of hospitalization."
Just over half of statewide cases have sent patients to the hospital. While Hall reports none of Lexington’s cases have been traced back to food service workers, the trend of person-to-person transmission is continuing.
"It's being spread through close connections to people. You're seeing it a lot now in marijuana use because that's a communal drug and people are spreading it through that sense," Hall says.
Officials say the state has confirmed around 2,275 cases with 14 deaths attributed to the outbreak.