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hepatitis a

MDHHS

The hepatitis A outbreak in Michigan has plateaued, but it's still an outbreak.

Eden Wells is the chief medical executive for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

Lindsey Smith
Trisha Zizumbo / Oakland County Health Department

It’s not absolutely necessary to get a hepatitis A vaccination according to state health officials, despite the fact that Michigan is in the midst of a hepatitis A outbreak and Indiana recently cautioned residents to get the vaccine if they plan to visit the Great Lakes state, or other parts of the country dealing with an outbreak of hep A, over the summer. 

A nurse administers a vaccine.
Rhoda Baer / Flickr - http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) issued $500,000 in grant money to 25 health departments across the state in an effort to stop the spread of hepatitis A that has been plaguing the state since August 2016.

Since then, there have been 789 cases, 635 hospitalizations and 25 deaths related to the outbreak of the highly contagious liver infection, making Michigan’s outbreak the deadliest of several occurring nationwide.

MDHHS

18 months, 25 deaths, and 615 hospitalizations later, state officials are beginning to express hope that a large hepatitis A outbreak is on the cusp of a decline.

Jay Fiedler is with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.  He says he can definitely see a plateau -- 10 to 15 new cases a week -- and no signs of another uptick.  

A nurse administers a vaccine.
Rhoda Baer / Flickr - http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The state is looking to pharmacists to help combat elevated cases of hepatitis A in Michigan.

Last week, the Department of Health and Human Services sent a letter to pharmacies across the state. It outlines how the virus is transmitted and lists symptoms associated with the disease. 

The letter also reminds pharmacists that there are preventative services they can provide that are covered under Michigan Medicaid, including prevention counseling and vaccinations.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Some popular gay bars in Detroit, Ferndale and Pontiac will have on-site hepatitis A vaccination clinics this month.

It's the state's latest effort to slow the hep A outbreak in Southeast Michigan.

About 14% of the 727 cases identified so far are men who have sex with men -- hence the clinics.

Many hep A cases are also occurring among drug users, jail inmates, restaurant workers, people with no permanent home, and people who live with an infected person.  590 people have been hospitalized, and 24 people have died from infections from the virus.

number of hepatitis A case in Michigan by year
Data from MDHHS / Michigan Radio

As of last week, Michigan officially has the deadliest of several hepatitis A outbreaks going on nationwide.

According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, at least 22 people have died from outbreak-related cases since August 2016.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

All the snow and cold and even a bum wrist from a recent fall didn’t stop Otis Lee from his mission to get vaccinated. Using a cane, Lee hobbled into the student center at the University of Detroit Mercy, where the Detroit Health Department has set up a vaccination clinic specifically for restaurant workers and food handlers.

Detroit is trying to fight a hepatitis A outbreak in the face of limited resources and low national vaccine supplies.

Detroit health department director Dr. Joneigh Khaldun talked about the city’s efforts to fight an outbreak of the viral liver disease on a conference call with other local and national health leaders Tuesday.

Michigan is one of a handful of states experiencing hepatitis A outbreaks right now. Michigan’s is one of the largest, with 610 cases and 20 deaths reported since August 2016.

Telephone
user mconnors / morgueFile

A spike in hepatitis A cases has prompted the Genesee County Health Department to start a telephone hotline to keep residents up-to-date.

The hotline provides information like symptoms of the infection, how it's transmitted, and where to get vaccines.

A nurse administers a vaccine.
Rhoda Baer / Flickr - http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The hepatitis A outbreak has affected at least a dozen restaurants in three southeast Michigan counties this year. That’s why Oakland County is hosting two vaccination clinics for restaurant workers this week, no appointment necessary.

Restaurant workers are a priority target for the limited supply of the hep A vaccine because they handle other people’s food. Those who catch the virus are most contagious before they show symptoms of hep A.

A nurse administers a vaccine.
Rhoda Baer / Flickr - http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Michigan is having a hepatitis A outbreak, and state health officials are encouraging those most at risk of getting it to get vaccinated. But the state also faces dwindling supplies of the hepatitis A vaccine.

MDHHS

More people were sickened this week, and another person died in the ongoing hepatitis A outbreak in southeast Michigan.

495 cases have been reported since the outbreak began in the summer of 2016. 416 of those cases involved hospitalization. 

The numbers continue to rise despite public health efforts to vaccinate those at higher risk, and to educate people about how this virus strain is being spread -- person-to person, via lax hygiene and close contact.

Chandra Krishnan / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Lt. Gov. Brian Calley today activated the State Emergency Operations Center to coordinate the state’s response to an outbreak of hepatitis A.

MDHHS

A public health coordination center is being activated, after indications that a regional hepatitis A outbreak could spread to other parts of the state. 

Most of the 457 people who have contracted hepatitis A since last summer live in southeast Michigan. But a few recent cases have been reported in counties in the thumb, as well as Ingham County. 370 people have been hospitalized since the outbreak began, and 18 people have died.

The state's Community Health Emergency Coordination Center supports public health groups on the front lines of fighting disease outbreaks, providing expertise, guidance and educational materials. The center was last activated in response to the Flint Water Crisis. It was also activated during the 2009 H1N1 flu pandemic.

Hand washing
Pixabay

Michigan has 14 times more hepatitis A cases than it did last year at this time, say epidemiologists with the state Department of Health and Human Services.

The outbreak, which is mainly in southeast Michigan, has sickened 457 people.  Of those, 370 have been hospitalized and 18 have died. 

The outbreak is complicated.  There's no single source such as food contamination - and many groups of people are at risk, including homeless people, drug users, people who are neither, and now there are more cases among men who have sex with men.  

Hand washing
Pixabay

Since an outbreak began last August, 376 people in Michigan have contracted the sometimes fatal illness. It's mainly spread person-to-person via contact with feces.

Angela Minicuci is with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

"We haven't found one contaminated food source or exposure at this point," she says, "but we are seeing a lot of relation to people who are using opioids or drugs."

People who are, or have been incarcerated, are also considered at higher risk of getting hepatitis A, as are homeless people. A staggering 86% of those who've gotten hepatitis A in the state since last year have been hospitalized.  Fourteen people have died.

Hepatitis A outbreak reported in SE Michigan

Sep 20, 2017
Daniel Paquet / Flickr Creative Commons HTTP://MICHRAD.IO/1LXRDJM

Michigan officials are warning health care providers about an outbreak of hepatitis A in the city of Detroit and nearby Macomb, Oakland, St. Clair, and Wayne counties.

According to Michigan's Medicaid Director Chris Priest, hepatitis A is a highly contagious liver infection that is primarily spread between people through food, water, or oral contact with objects, including hands and eating utensils, contaminated by the feces of a hepatitis A-infected individual.

Wikipedia Commons

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says there's been 200 confirmed cases of hepatitis A in Southeast Michigan since last August, resulting in ten deaths. The virus has been reported in Oakland, Wayne, and St. Clair counties.

A nurse administers a vaccine.
Rhoda Baer / Flickr - http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Authorities are taking steps to limit hepatitis A exposure at the Oakland County Jail in suburban Detroit after an inmate was confirmed to be infected.

The Oakland County Health Division and the sheriff's office announced Friday that they're advising those detained at the jail in Pontiac between May 8 and May 23 to contact the Health Division to determine potential exposure. A male inmate was confirmed to have hepatitis A.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Health officials are concerned about a growing outbreak of Hepatitis-A in southeast Michigan.

Hepatitis A is a viral disease that attacks the liver.     It’s not usually fatal.  But two of the 107 patients recorded in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties since last August have died. 

“We do think that there are various pockets of this Hepatitis A,” says Dr. Eden Wells, the chief medical executive with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, “We’re not sure what’s driving it, but it is contagious.”

User apoxapox / Flickr

Cases of hepatitis A are increasing in Detroit, as well as Macomb, Oakland, and Wayne counties.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced today that there has been a significant uptick in the number of lab-confirmed hepatitis A cases.

In a press release, the department said that 107 cases were confirmed from August 1, 2016 to March 1, 2017. That's eight times higher than the previous year.