Genesee County Health Department reports three new hepatitis A cases for the month of October.
Since August 2016, officials have received reports of 495 confirmed cases, including 18 deaths, in Macomb, Wayne, Oakland, St. Clair, Washtenaw, Monroe, Ingham, Livingston, Sanilac, Lapeer, Calhoun, Clare, Isabella, Hillsdale and Huron Counties.
Hepatitis A attacks the liver and causes symptoms including abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea, fever and jaundice.
The department says it's urging vaccinations for the highest risk individuals, including persons with a history of substance use and men who have sex with men.
There have now been five confirmed cases of hepatitis A in Genesee County this year.
How to prevent hepatitis A infection: Vaccination with the Hepatitis A vaccine is the best way to prevent HAV infection and is safe for all individuals including those with liver disease or weakened immune systems. One dose is at least 90 percent effective at preventing infection if given before or within two weeks after exposure to the virus. Hepatitis A vaccine is available at local pharmacies, through some healthcare providers, or at local health departments. Good hand hygiene is integral to prevention. Wash your hands after using the bathroom, changing diapers, and before preparing or eating meals. Use your own towels, toothbrushes, and eating utensils and do not share food, drinks, drugs, or smokes with other people. Do not have sex with someone who has HAV infection.Copyright 2017 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.