Deadly hepatitis A outbreak has state opening emergency centers - WNEM TV 5

Deadly hepatitis A outbreak has state opening emergency centers

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Source: CBS Source: CBS

Since August 2016, officials have received reports of 457 confirmed cases, including 18 deaths, in Huron, Ingham, Lapeer, Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, Sanilac, St. Clair, Washtenaw, and Wayne counties.

In Ingham County alone, three people have been diagnosed.

One of those people died.

The outbreak led state agencies, including the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, to step up and get ahead by implementing the community health emergency coordination center.

>>Read more: Michigan opens emergency operations center for hepatitis A<<

“Number one [goal] is prevention. This is a vaccine-preventable disease and the vaccine itself is more than 90 percent effective. Our second point is really focusing on getting people and identifying people who are ill and getting them into treatment as soon as possible,” said Angela Minicuci, a spokesperson with the MDHHS.

Minicuci said a handful of cases in Ingham County are now being tied to an outbreak in Southeast Michigan, and crews are working around-the-clock to determine how the virus is spreading.

“We haven't identified one particular source of all the cases being exposed, it really is person to person transmission,” Minicuci said.

Stephanie Schauer, a nurse practitioner for Sparrow's Fast Care said since news of the hepatitis A outbreak, vaccinations have increased and staff continue to push for prevention.

 “When people are coming in with those mild flu symptoms or vomiting, diarrhea then it's something we certainly consider is checking their hepatitis A immunization status,” Schauer said.

The disease attacks the liver and causes symptoms including abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea, fever and jaundice.

The outbreak is so concerning, that Ingham County health officials said they've even went to several homeless shelters this past week to vaccinate staff and those taking shelter as a step toward combating this virus.

Copyright 2017 WNEM (Meredith Corporation) / CBS News / WLNS. All rights reserved. 

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