Hepatitis A Southeast Michigan Outbreak

Woman receiving vaccinationPublic health officials and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) are continuing to see an elevated number of hepatitis A cases in the City of Detroit, and counties of Lapeer, Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, St. Clair, Sanilac, Washtenaw, and Wayne.

Since the beginning of the outbreak in August 2016, 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. Notably, this outbreak has had a high hospitalization rate.
 

Southeast Michigan Hepatitis A Outbreak Cases and Deaths as of October 18, 2017*
*Table will be updated weekly by 4:00pm each Friday

Cases

Hospitalizations

Deaths

431

348 (85.7%)

17 (4.2%)

Please note: Affected jurisdictions include City of Detroit, and Lapeer, Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, St. Clair, Sanilac, Washtenaw & Wayne Counties.​ Table does not include all reported hepatitis A cases in the region; only those that are identified as outbreak-related. More descriptive data on the current outbreak can be found within the Comprehensive Summary.  Data are provisional and subject to change.

Hepatitis A Overview

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. You can get hepatitis A by eating contaminated food or water, during sex, or just by living with an infected person. Illness can appear 15-50 days after exposure and you can be sick for several weeks. In some cases, people can die. Although not all people infected with hepatitis A experience illness, symptoms can include:

  • Jaundicenausea and vomiting
  • belly pain
  • feeling tired
  • fever
  • loss of appetite
  • yellowing of the skin and eyes
  • dark urine
  • pale-colored feces (poop)
  • joint pain

There are steps you can take to reduce the risk of Hepatitis A transmission. 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. It is also recommended to wash your hands after going to the bathroom and before preparing meals for yourself and others. Use your own towels, toothbrushes, and eating utensils. Do not have sex with someone who has HAV infection or share food, drinks, or smokes with other people.

What can the public do to protect themselves and their communities?

  • Get vaccinated against hepatitis AHandwashing
  • Wash hands after using the restroom and before eating or preparing meals for yourself or others
  • Use your own towels, toothbrushes, and eating utensils
  • Do not have sex with someone who has HAV infection
  • Do not share food, drinks, drugs, or smokes with other people
  • If you think you may have hepatitis A, see your medical provider
  • If you have hepatitis A, please cooperate with your local public health to help protect others

Public Health Response 

Additional information on vaccination, health department contacts, and strategies to reduce transmission

Hepatitis A Resources

Links to educational documents, community partners, and past communications