State activating service to help with rising hepatitis A cases - WNEM TV 5

State activating service to help with rising hepatitis A cases

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As cases of hepatitis A continue to rise across the state, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has activated the Community Health Emergency Coordination Center (CHECC) to coordinate response to cases in multiple jurisdictions.

"To help coordinate Michigan’s response to the hepatitis A outbreak, we are opening the Community Health Emergency Coordination Center to assist the multiple local public health jurisdictions involved in the response and prevention of further cases," said MDHHS Director Nick Lyon.

Since August 1, 2016, there have been 457 confirmed cases of hepatitis A, including 18 fatalities, associated with this outbreak in the City of Detroit, Huron, Ingham, Lapeer, Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, Sanilac, St. Clair, Washtenaw, and Wayne Counties reported to MDHHS.

The CHECC will provide support to health departments, hospitals, healthcare providers and others helping patients impacted by the hepatitis A outbreak.

As there are indications that the outbreak could spread outside of the Southeast region of Michigan, MDHHS is urging all healthcare providers to promote hepatitis A vaccination to the highest risk individuals, including:

  • Persons with a history of substance use­­
  • Persons currently homeless or in transient living
  • Men who have sex with men (MSM)
  • Persons incarcerated in correctional facilities
  • Food handlers
  • Healthcare workers
  • Persons with underlying liver disease
  • Persons who are in close contact with any of the above risk groups
  • Persons wishing to be immune to hepatitis A

“We know that the hepatitis A vaccine is more than 90 percent effective in protecting someone who may be exposed to hepatitis A," said Dr. Eden Wells, Chief Medical Executive with the MDHHS. "Without a single source associated with these cases, the importance of vaccination and proper hygiene is vital to ensuring we stop the person-to-person spread of hepatitis A." 

Due to the temporary limitations on the availability of Adult Hepatitis A vaccine, MDHHS recommends that healthcare providers postpone administration of the second dose of Adult hepatitis A vaccine unless individuals require the second dose to address high risk conditions, including travel to a hepatitis A endemic country. 

Pediatric hepatitis A vaccine should continue to be administered routinely as there are no limitations on the availability of this vaccine for those 18 years and younger.

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