Kentucky health agency now without infectious diseases chief

MGN
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- Kentucky is struggling with the nation's worst hepatitis A outbreak, and its state Department of Public Health is suddenly without its infectious diseases chief.

John Bennett tells The Courier Journal that he was dismissed on Friday. Cabinet for Health and Family Services spokesman Doug Hogan confirmed in an email to the AP that Bennett is no longer with the health department.

Bennett says he wasn't given a specific reason for his dismissal and nothing suggests it was related to Kentucky's outbreak response.

Kentucky said Monday that the outbreak first declared in 2017 has killed 52 people and sickened more than 4,400. Kentucky has had more hepatitis A-related deaths than any other state struggling with similar outbreaks.

Hogan says the number of hepatitis A cases has been declining for several months.