MDHHS awards $500,000 to 25 county health departments to help stop hepatitis A outbreak
All local health departments have now received funding to combat disease

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 26, 2018

CONTACT: Lynn Sutfin, 517-241-2112 

LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) recently issued $500,000 in grants to 25 local health departments to help combat Michigan’s hepatitis A outbreak.

Local health departments were issued $20,000 each to increase vaccination outreach to high-risk populations and include:

Allegan County Health Department

Kalamazoo County Health and Community Services Department

Bay County Health Department

Kent County Health Department

Benzie-Leelanau District Health Department

Lenawee County Health Department

Berrien County Health Department

Luce-Mackinac-Alger-Schoolcraft District Health Department

Branch-Hillsdale-St. Joseph Community Health Agency

Marquette County Health Department

Chippewa County Health Department

Midland County Health Department

Public Health Delta & Menominee

Public Health of Muskegon County

Dickinson-Iron District Health Department

Health Department of Northwest Michigan

District Health Department #2

Ottawa County Health Department

District Health Department #4

Tuscola County Health Department

Huron County Health Department

Van Buren-Cass District Health Department

Ionia County Health Department

Western Upper Peninsula Health Department

Jackson County Health Department

 

                    

Those with a history of injection and non-injection drug use, homelessness or transient housing, incarceration and men who have sex with men are thought to be at greater risk of contracting the disease.                   

“This has been the largest person-to-person hepatitis A outbreak in Michigan’s history, with more than 780 cases,” said Dr. Eden Wells, MDHHS chief medical executive. “Increasing vaccination outreach to high-risk populations across the state is essential to stopping the spread of hepatitis A in Michigan.”

The funding is part of a $7.1 million appropriation approved by the Legislature in late 2017 to address the hepatitis A outbreak. It can be used for staffing to conduct educational and vaccination outreach efforts. Twenty health departments that are part of the outbreak jurisdiction have already been awarded $2.5 million. This latest round of grants covers the remainder of the state’s local health departments. To be considered part of the outbreak jurisdiction a county must have two or more cases of hepatitis A related to the outbreak strain. The 25 health departments receiving this most recent round of funding are not currently part of the outbreak jurisdiction.

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
  • Belly pain
  • Feeling tired
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Yellowing of the skin and eyes
  • Dark urine
  • Pale-colored feces (poop)
  • Joint pain

Getting vaccinated, practicing good hand washing and avoiding sex with infected partners are ways to prevent getting infected. The hepatitis A vaccine is available at local pharmacies, through healthcare providers and at local health departments.

For more information about hepatitis A, including a calendar of vaccination clinics, visit Michigan.gov/hepatitisAoutbreak.

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