Lansing, Michigan – More than two years have passed since public health officials began fighting the hepatitis A epidemic in Michigan, and from November 7, 905 cases have been reported by the Ministry of Health and Humanitarian Services in Michigan (MDHHS). For comparison, the state recorded 327 cases from 2011-2015.
Although weekly numbers slowed from 15 to 20 cases per week to about three cases a week, the number of cases is still above the average, while public health officials are still looking for vaccination. This epidemic still has a high hospitalization rate, with 726 hospitalized (80.2) and 28 deaths.
"Our local healthcare partners have been instrumental in slowing down this epidemic through entry efforts and vaccination clinics targeting high-risk individuals," said Dr Eden Wells, MDHHS chief physician. "With the vaccine available, all residents are encouraged to discuss their risk factors with their physician or local health care provider."
It is believed that those who have history of injecting and unproductive drugs, homelessness or temporary housing, jail and men who have sex with men (MSM) have a greater risk of contracting this disease.
"It was the largest epidemic of hepatitis A-1 in Michael's history," Wells said. "It is essential that Michigan residents cleave to protect and prevent further spread of this outbreak in communities in Michigan. Talk to your doctor to see if they are at risk of getting Hepatitis A."
Getting vaccinated, practicing good hand washing and avoiding sex with infected partners are ways to prevent infection. The hepatitis A vaccine is available at local pharmacies, healthcare providers, and local healthcare providers.
Vaccination services were held in local health care facilities, homeless shelters, and places popular with the MSM population in an effort to go where these populations are likely to be present. More than 268,000 doses of vaccine have been used in outbreak jurisdictions. In addition, the emergency department reviews hepatitis A and offers a vaccine.
Hepatitis A is a serious, highly contagious liver disease caused by hepatitis A virus (HAV). HAV is found in people (hems) of people with hepatitis A and spreads eating contaminated food or water during sex or living with an infected person.
Symptoms of hepatitis A may include:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Pain in the stomach
- Feeling Tired / Drowsiness
- Loss of appetite
- Skin and eye jolts
- Dark urine
- Pale secretion (sows)
- Pain in joints
More information about hepatitis A, including the vaccine calendar, visit Michigan.gov/hepatitisAoutbreak.
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