In a follow-up on the hepatitis A outbreak reported in southeastern Michigan, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) continues to see an elevated number of hepatitis A cases in the area.
Since the beginning of the outbreak in August 2016 through Nov. 7, 2017, 495 cases have been recorded, including 19 deaths. Eighty-four percent of the cases required hospitalization for their illness.
Nine out of 10 cases have been reported from three counties–Macomb, Wayne and Oakland and the city of Detroit. Cases at lower numbers have been reported from 13 other counties.
Since the beginning of the outbreak, the 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.
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.
MDHHS advises the following people get vaccinated:
- 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.
- Any person who is concerned about HAV exposure and wants to be immune.
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