Hepatitis A -- Southeast Michigan Outbreak

Hepatitis A -- Southeast Michigan Outbreak

Public health officials and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) are continuing to see an elevated number of hepatitis A cases in Southeast Michigan.

Since the beginning of the outbreak in August 2016, public health response has included increased healthcare awareness efforts, public notification and education, and outreach with vaccination clinics for high-risk populations. No common sources of food, beverages, or drugs have been identified as a potential source of infection. Transmission appears to be through direct person-to-person spread and illicit drug use. Those with history of injection and non-injection drug use, homelessness or transient housing, and incarceration are thought to be at greater risk in this outbreak setting. Notably, this outbreak has had a high hospitalization rate.

Hepatitis A Overview
Jaundice

Hepatitis A is a serious, highly contagious liver disease caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV). HAV is found in the feces (poop) of people with hepatitis A. You can get hepatitis A by eating contaminated food or water, during sex, or just by living with an infected person. Illness can appear 15-50 days after exposure and you can be sick for several weeks. In some cases, people can die. Although not all people infected with hepatitis A experience illness, symptoms can include:

  • nausea and vomiting
  • belly pain
  • feeling tired
  • fever
  • loss of appetite
  • yellowing of the skin and eyes
  • dark urine
  • pale-colored feces (poop)
  • joint pain

There are steps you can take to reduce the risk of Hepatitis A transmission. Hepatitis A is a vaccine-preventable illness. While the hepatitis A vaccine is recommended as a part of the routine childhood vaccination schedule, most adults have not been vaccinated and may be susceptible to the hepatitis A virus. The best way to reduce the risk of getting hepatitis A is to get vaccinated with two doses of Hepatitis A vaccine. It is also recommended to wash your hands after going to the bathroom and before preparing meals for yourself and others. Use your own towels, toothbrushes, and eating utensils. Do not have sex with someone who has HAV infection or share food, drinks, or smokes with other people.

What can the public do to protect themselves and their communities?
handwashing

  • Get vaccinated against hepatitis A 
  • Wash hands after using the restroom and before eating or preparing meals for yourself or others
  • Use your own towels, toothbrushes, and eating utensils
  • Do not have sex with someone who has HAV infection
  • Do not share food, drinks, drugs, or smokes with other people
  • If you think you may have hepatitis A, see your medical provider
  • If you have hepatitis A, please cooperate with your local public health to help protect others

Vaccination Information
HEP A Vaccine

Hepatitis A can be prevented with a safe and effective vaccine. Stop the spread of this infection.

Who Should Get the HAV Vaccine?

  • Persons who are homeless.
  • Persons who are incarcerated.
  • Persons who use injection and non-injection illegal drugs.
  • Persons who work with the high risk populations listed above.
  • Persons who have close contact, care for, or live with someone who has HAV.
  • Persons who have sexual activities with someone who has HAV.
  • Men who have sex with men.
  • Travelers to countries with high or medium rates of HAV.
  • Persons with chronic liver disease, such as cirrhosis, hepatitis B, or hepatitis C.*
  • Persons with clotting factor disorders.

*Note: individuals with chronic liver disease (e.g., cirrhosis and hepatitis C) may not be at increased risk of getting HAV infections but are at increased risk of having poor outcomes if they are infected with HAV.

For information on where to get vaccinated:

If you (or someone you know) do not have health insurance, you will likely qualify for free or low cost vaccines. Talk with your local health department to find out if you qualify.

Detroit Health Department
Phone: 313-876-4000

Monroe County Health Department
Phone: 734-240-7800

Calhoun County Public Health Department
Phone: (269) 969-6370

Oakland County Health Division
Phone: 1-800-848-5533 or Email:noc@oakgov.com

Central Michigan District Health Department
Isabella Phone: (989) 773-5921

St. Clair County Health Department
Phone: 810-987-5300

Genesee County Health Department
Phone: 810-257-3048

Sanilac County Health Department
Phone: 810-648-4098

Ingham County Health Department
Phone: 517-887-4311

Shiawassee County Health Department
Phone: 989-743-2318

Lapeer County Health Department
Phone: 810-667-0448

Washtenaw County Public Health
Phone: 734-544-6700

Livingston County Health Department
Phone: 517-546-9850

Wayne County Department of Health, Veterans & Community Wellness
Phone: 734-727-7078

Macomb County Health Department
Phone: 586-469-5372

 

 

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