Record Level Of Hepatitis A Cases Hit State Of Michigan

Dr. Deanna Lites
November 08, 2018 - 5:03 pm

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DETROIT (WWJ)  - A warning from the state health department to get vaccinated against Hepatitis A as the number of cases continues to rise throughout the state.

Hepatitis A is a highly contagious liver disease caused by the hepatitis A virus. 

Lynn Sutfin, with the state health department, tells WWJ Health Reporter, Dr. Deanna Lites, that the outbreak has reached record levels in the state. 

"In about the two years since this outbreak going on in Michigan we have now reached 905 cases of hepatitis A in the state," says Suffin. 

This is the largest person-to-person hepatitis A outbreak in Michigan’s history.

Health officials are encouraging residents to get vaccinated and to learn about other preventive measures and risk factors.

It's spread by eating contaminated food or water, during sex or by living with an infected person. The virus is shed in feces and is most commonly spread from person to person by unclean hands contaminated with feces.

“Vaccination can prevent the disease if given within 14 days after potential exposure,” said Leigh-Anne Stafford, health officer for the Health Division telling WWJ in May, after a student at West Bloomfield High School was confirmed to have contracted hepatitis A. 

To reduce the risk of contracting hepatitis A:

Get the hepatitis A vaccine.

Wash hands frequently, especially after using the bathroom, changing diapers, and before preparing and eating food. Rub hands vigorously with soap and warm running water for at least 20 seconds.

Clean and disinfect all surface areas, especially while someone in the household or workplace has symptoms. Particular care needs to be taken with areas such as toilets, sinks, trash, door knobs, and faucet handles.

Do not prepare food if you have symptoms and refrain from food preparation for at least three days after symptoms end.

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

The vaccine is available through some healthcare providers and many pharmacies. Call ahead to ensure your provider or pharmacy has the vaccine available.

Vaccines are available at both Health Division offices in Pontiac and Southfield at the following addresses:

• North Oakland Health Center, 1200 N. Telegraph Road, Building 34 East, Pontiac
• South Oakland Health Center, 27725 Greenfield Road, Southfield

Clinic hours are Mondays, noon – 8 p.m. and Tuesdays through Fridays, 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Pre-payment and registration are not available at these walk-in clinics.

More information from the Oakland County Health Division, a facts sheet is available here. Additional information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) can be found HERE.