Health officer rejects needle exchange for Indiana county - ABC21: Your Weather Authority

Health officer rejects needle exchange for Indiana county

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PERU, Ind. (AP) - A county health officer in north-central Indiana says the number of hepatitis C cases doesn't justify implementing a local syringe exchange program, despite cases doubling in just one year.

The Kokomo Tribune reports that Health Officer Dr. Rafik Farag declined Tuesday to declare a public health emergency in Miami County that would lead to creating a needle exchange program. State law requires a local health officer to declare an epidemic and show that the virus spread is caused by needle-sharing before the county can implement such a program.

Farag says the county's health department is too short-staffed to manage a syringe program.

The Indiana State Department of Health says the county's number of hepatitis C cases increased from 49 people infected in 2015 to 109 in 2016.

Information from: Kokomo Tribune, http://www.ktonline.com

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