RICHMOND – Local hepatitis A figures rose again this week, even as the rest of the state and most of the country's hardest-hit areas continue to see a steady decline in newly reported cases of the disease.
Wayne County, with nine new cases reported since last week, stayed atop the state's list of counties with most instances of hepatitis A, while also maintaining its hold on a spot in the nation's Top 10, according to a Pal-Item data analysis.
The county now has 94 confirmed cases of hepatitis A, according to new figures from the Indiana State Dept. of Health. The next-closest county in the state is Clark County, with 73, which did not see any increase from the previous week.
Last week, Wayne County had 85 cases as part of the 10-state outbreak of the liver-affecting disease that began last year. This week's number reflects something of a minor slowdown for the disease's spread locally, but not nearly a full stop.
In mid-July, the county had just 15 reported cases of the disease; hepatitis A cases have spread by an average of about 14 cases per week since then.
Across Indiana, 439 cases of hepatitis A have been reported since January; that's an increase of about 25 from the previous week, showing the figures are in line with the disease's steady spread over the past month, though the percentage attributed to Wayne County cases dropped significantly.
In all, 17 counties in Indiana have seen at least five reported cases of hepatitis A, including Fayette County, which saw a bump of three in the past week.
The state of Indiana usually sees about 20 cases of the disease each year.