The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is reporting that cases of Hepatitis A have recently topped 900 in the state.
As of Nov. 7 they say there have been 905 cases reported. To compare, between 2011-2015 there were only 327 cases reported.
The current outbreak has a high hospitalization rate of 80.2% and 28 deaths reported.
“Our local health department partners have been instrumental in slowing this epidemic through outreach efforts and vaccination clinics targeted towards high risk individuals,” said Dr. Eden Wells, MDHHS chief medical executive. “With vaccine available, all residents are encouraged to discuss their risk factors with their doctor or local health department.”
Those individuals thought to be at the greatest risk for Hep A are people with a history of injection and non-injection drug use, homelessness or transient housing, incarceration and men who have sex with men.
“This has been the largest person-to-person hepatitis A outbreak in Michigan’s history,” Wells said. “It’s imperative that Michigan residents get vaccinated to protect themselves and prevent the further spread of this outbreak in Michigan communities. Talk to your health care provider to see if you are at risk of getting hepatitis A.”
The MDHHS says getting vaccinated the best protection, along with good hand washing and having safe sex.
The hepatitis A vaccine is available through healthcare providers and is available at local pharmacies.
Vaccination clinics are also held.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
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 and spread by eating contaminated food or water, during sex or by living with an infected person.
Hepatitis A symptoms can include:
• Nausea and vomiting • Yellowing of the skin and eyes
• Belly pain • Dark urine
• Feeling tired • Pale-colored feces
• Fever • Joint pain
• Loss of appetite