Detroit health officials have announced two cases of hepatitis A in the city in recent weeks during a press conference Thursday. The Detroit Health Department notes that both of the cases had come in contact with sewage that had backed up into a basement.
While it is not yet clear how these individual contracted Hepatitis A, contact with sewage can transmit the disease. For that reason, the Detroit Health Department recommends that anyone who may have come in contact with sewage seek preventative vaccination.
“While we don’t know exactly how two residents contracted Hepatitis A, the fact that both of them had come in contact with sewage makes us want to be extra careful.” said Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, Executive Director & Health Officer at the Detroit Health Department. “We want to make sure that anyone who may have come in contact with sewage receive preventive vaccinations. This can be done at the Doctor’s office or at the Health Department.”
Dr. El-Sayed said that his department will be mailing out information directly to residents in the affected area to advise them of the issue and what steps they can take. The City also has partnered with the United Way for Southeastern Michigan to set up an information hotline. Anyone seeking more information about the potential health impacts of this flooding or have questions about Hepatitis A and its symptoms can call 211.
City residents should contact their primary care physician or come to either of the Detroit Health Department’s clinics at Samaritan Center (5555 Conner) or Family Place (8726 Woodward Ave) between Friday August 26th, and Friday September 2nd.
Hepatitis A is a manageable virus that infects the liver and causes symptoms that can include abdominal pain, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dark urine. Most children who get the disease do not have symptoms. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should seek medical attention immediately. Symptoms usually last about 2 months in adults, although in some people it can last up to 6 months.