Indiana public health emergency extended as HIV outbreak spreads to second county

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SCOTT COUNTY, IN – The county fair is usually one of the big stories of the year for the folks living in Scott County, Indiana.

Concerts by local bands are always a big hit. So is the shooting gallery, especially with the kids.

But there’s another shooting gallery that’s placing Scott County in the news. And that’s the one used by intravenous drug users who are spreading HIV at an alarming rate.

Indiana governor Mike Pence extended last month’s public health emergency by thirty days after the HIV outbreak spread into neighboring Jackson County.

Health officials have confirmed 130 cases in Scott and another five in Jackson.

They linked the outbreak that began in December to needle sharing among drug users.

So, the state began a needle-exchange program that health officials say has taken more than 3,000 used needles off the streets.

The governor’s emergency order also calls for state agencies to coordinate a response and to provide additional resources.

One community now has a “one-stop shop” outreach center that provides a variety of services.

Indiana health officials hope they have a fair chance can stop the HIV outbreak before it becomes somebody’s last rodeo.