HEPATITIS A OUTBREAK IN SOUTHEAST MICHIGAN
Macomb County, as well as other southeast Michigan communities, are experiencing an outbreak of hepatitis A infections. Since August 2016, over 200 hepatitis A cases have been reported in the county, and nearly 700 cases in southeast Michigan (as of January 31, 2018). Macomb County typically sees about six cases a year.
A common source of the outbreak has not been identified. The Health Department is working with many community partners to combat the spread of the virus. Please review the information below to see how everyone can help take small actions that will help control the spread of hepatitis A infection.
Hepatitis A Virus (HAV)
Hepatitis A infection is a contagious liver disease. The infection is caused by ingesting the virus through contact with objects, food, or drinks contaminated by the feces (or stool) of an infected person, or contaminated food or water supply.
The best way to prevent infection is to do the following:
- 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 hepatitis A infection
- Do not share food, drinks, drugs, or smokes with other people
Symptoms of hepatitis A include fatigue, poor appetite, stomach pain or tenderness, nausea or vomiting, dark urine, and yellowing of the skin (jaundice). Symptoms typically appear 2 to 6 weeks after exposure.
Individuals with symptoms should call their provider or seek care. If you have hepatitis A, please cooperate with your local public health department to help protect others.
For more information about the disease and prevention, please see the Hepatitis A Fact Sheet or call the Macomb County Health Department Communicable Disease Surveillance Program at 586-783-8190.
The hepatitis A vaccine is effective at preventing infection. Vaccination is recommended for:
- Persons who are homeless.
- Persons who are incarcerated.
- Persons who use injection and non-injection illegal drugs.
- Persons who work with the three high risk populations listed above.
- Persons who have had close contact (e.g., household, care giver, or sexual) with someone who has hepatitis A.
- Men who have sex with men.
- Food handlers
- Healthcare workers
- 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.
- Any person who is concerned about HAV exposure and wants to be immune.
Where can you get the hepatitis A vaccine?
- Healthcare provider
- Macomb County Health Department has multiple office locations offering vaccination: Clinic days, times, and locations
If you (or someone you know) do not have health insurance, you may qualify for free or low cost vaccines. Talk with the health department to find out if you qualify.
For more information about getting the vaccine at the Macomb County Health Department, please call the Immunization Clinic at 586-469-5372
Healthcare Providers and Case Reporting
Prompt notification to the local health department facilitates case investigation and prophylaxis of contacts. Post-exposure prophylaxis is recommended within 14 days of exposure. Suspected and confirmed cases should be reported to Macomb County Health Department at 586-783-8190
Lab Testing and Reporting: Confirmation of hepatitis A infection is important. Recommended testing includes Hepatitis A IgM, and liver enzymes are also helpful.
Hepatitis A Outbreak Information
Hepatitis A outbreak information on case data and overview is updated weekly by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
More hepatitis A education and outreach materials (e.g., letters, brochure, poster, flyer, and infographics) are available for the following groups and others:
- At-Risk Populations
- Food Service Workers
- First Responders
- Healthcare Providers
- Community Clinics
Joint Press Release from Local Health Officers - December 11, 2017
Public Health Response
The State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) has been activated to coordinate Michigan’s response to the outbreak. An overview of the public health response is available with information on strategies, press releases, and Michigan Health Alert Network (MIHAN) messages.