The Mid-Michigan District Health Department confirms a Bath Schools employee has been infected with Hepatitis A. The employee works in the administrative office and does not work with students. In a letter sent to parents Thursday, the department says, "The situation is not considered to put your child at increased risk for infection."
The state Department of Health and Human Services as well as individual health departments have been working to contain a Hepatitis A outbreak for the last several months. In October the state recommended routine vaccinations for the homeless. The Ingham County Health Department warned anyone who ate at the Steak-n-Shake in Lansing between September 14 and 25 to get vaccinated after an employee tested positive for the virus. A similar warning was for people who attended the Michigan Renaissance Festival in Holly in September.
Hepatitis A is a disease that attacks the liver. It causes the following symptoms:
- nausea and vomiting
- lighter-colored bowel movements
- loss of appetite
- low-grade fever
- dark urine
- joint pain
- yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes
- intense itching
The symptoms often disappear after a few weeks. But Hepatitis A can also cause a severe illness that lasts several months. The most common way it's spread is through eating or drinking something contaminated with fecal matter. Even a microscopic amount of feces can be enough to transmit the virus. Other methods of infection include:
- drinking water contaminated by raw sewage
- eating raw shellfish from contaminated water
- being in close contact with someone who is infected
- having sex with someone who is infected
Getting the vaccine within two weeks of exposure can prevent Hepatitis A infection. Check with your doctor to see if you should get the vaccine or if you think you may have been exposed.