Hepatitis A Outbreak

Summary- updated November 7

Over the past year, there has been an increase in hepatitis A cases in southeast Michigan. 

Cases:  495       Hospitalizations: 416                Deaths: 19

There are several cases in nearby counties, but NO reported cases in Lenawee County.

What is Hepatitis A?

Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease. It can range from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious illness lasting several months. Thorough hand washing and vaccination can prevent infection.

How is it spread?

  • By putting something in your mouth that has been contaminated with the feces (poop) of a person with hepatitis A
  • By having sex with someone who is infected
  • By sharing towels, toothbrushes or eating utensils
  • By sharing food, drinks, drugs or smokes that have been handled by an infected person

What are the most common symptoms?

Some people have no symptoms. Those who have symptoms are most likely to have:

  • Jaundice (yellowing skin and whites of eyes)
  • Fatigue/tired
  • Stomach pain

Who is at risk?

Anyone who has close contact with someone who has hepatitis A, or eats food that is contaminated with hepatitis A.

Those at highest risk include:

  • Persons with a history of substance abuse
  • Persons currently homeless or in transient living
  • Men who have sex with men (MSM)
  • Persons incarcerated in correctional facilities
  • Healthcare workers
  • Persons with underlying liver disease
  • Persons who are in close contact with any of the above risk groups

What if I’m a food service worker?

Because hepatitis A can be spread through food, food service workers need to take extra care when handling food.  See the following for more information.

 How can I reduce the risk of contracting hepatitis A?

  • Wash your hands thoroughly, particularly after going to the bathroom and before preparing meals for yourself and others
  • Get vaccinated against hepatitis A if you are at high risk

What if I think I have hepatitis A?

  • Contact your healthcare provider immediately
  • Food service workers must also notify their food service manager immediately 

Where can I get more information?

Call the Lenawee County Health Department at: 517-264-5226 (option 2)

Visit:  www.mi.gov/hepatitisAoutbreak

Special information for food service providers: www.mi.gov/foodsafety