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Monroe County Public Health

Monroe County Public Health Warns of Possible Exposure to Hepatitis A

Vaccination can protect against infection

Monroe, Mich., December 11th, 2017 – Monroe County Health Department (MCHD) has confirmed a case of Hepatitis A in an individual who works at a local restaurant.  MCHD is providing information to alert residents and guests to the possible exposure and to recommend prompt hepatitis A vaccination or immune globulin (IG) treatment to potentially exposed individuals.

The diagnosed individual works at Tim Hortons Restaurant located at 404 S Monroe Street in Monroe. Anyone who consumed food and/or drink from the restaurant between November 21, 2017 and December 8, 2017 may have been exposed.

MCHD is working closely with the restaurant to vaccinate all employees and to eliminate any additional risk of exposure. Concerned individuals are urged to contact MCHD or their health care provider with questions. Media requests should be directed to the MCHD. Please do not contact the restaurant. The restaurant owners and employees are cooperating fully with MCHD, but do not have any additional information or health recommendations. The individual with Hepatitis A infection is not currently working and is receiving medical care.

“While Hepatitis A can be very serious, we are fortunate to have an effective vaccine available,” says Carl J Schmidt, MD, MPH, medical director with MCHD. “We encourage anyone concerned about potential exposure to speak with their health care provider or MCHD as soon as possible. Vaccination is strongly encouraged for all eligible individuals, as multiple counties in southeast Michigan have seen outbreaks of Hepatitis A in recent months,” added Dr. Schmidt.

Hepatitis A vaccine or immune globulin (IG) treatment may provide protection against the disease if given within two weeks of exposure. Anyone potentially exposed to Hepatitis A should contact their healthcare provider to be assessed for vaccination or IG treatment. Hepatitis A vaccine is available from health care providers, pharmacies and at MCHD. People who have had Hepatitis A disease or have previously received two doses of the hepatitis A vaccine do not need to be vaccinated.

Monitoring for Symptoms of Hepatitis A
Hepatitis A is caused by the hepatitis A virus, and it can cause damage to the liver and cause other health problems.

Anyone who has consumed food and/or drink at Tim Hortons since Tuesday, November 21 to December 8, should monitor for symptoms of hepatitis A which include fatigue, poor appetite, stomach pain or tenderness, nausea or vomiting, dark urine, and yellowing of the skin (jaundice). Most children less than 6 years of age do not experience symptoms. Symptoms typically appear 2 to 6 weeks after exposure. Individuals with symptoms should call their health care provider and seek medical care.


Vaccination
The most effective method to prevent Hepatitis A is to get vaccinated. The Hepatitis A vaccine is now routinely recommended for children at 1 year of age. Most adults, however, may not be vaccinated, unless they did so for travel or other risk factors.

Who should get vaccinated against Hepatitis A?

  • Persons who are homeless.

  • Persons who are incarcerated.

  • Persons who use injection and non-injection illegal drugs.

  • Persons who work with the high risk populations listed above.

  • Persons who have close contact, care for, or live with someone who has Hepatitis A.

  • Persons who have sexual activities with someone who has Hepatitis A.

  • Men who have sex with men.

  • Travelers to countries with high or medium rates of Hepatitis A.

  • Persons with chronic liver disease, such as cirrhosis, Hepatitis B, or Hepatitis C.

  • Persons with clotting factor disorders.

  • Any person who is concerned about potential exposure and wishes to be vaccinated.

 

How is it spread?
The Hepatitis A virus is most commonly spread from person-to-person by the fecal-oral route. Most infections result from contact with an infected household member or sex partners. Sometimes, infection results from food or drink that is contaminated with the virus. It is not spread through coughing or sneezing.  Anyone who has Hepatitis A can spread the virus to others for 1-2 weeks prior to symptoms appearing.

Frequent hand-washing with soap and warm water after using the restroom and before handling food can help prevent the spread of Hepatitis A.  Thoroughly preparing foods can also help prevent infection. Freezing food does not kill the virus.

Outbreak in Southeast Michigan 
From August 2016 to December 7, 2017 there have been 583 cases of Hepatitis A diagnosed in Southeast Michigan.  Learn more about the Southeast Michigan outbreak at www.mi.gov/hepatitisaoutbreak.

 

Other Sources of Reliable Information
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) www.cdc.gov/hepatitis
Monroe County Public Health Fact Sheet: Hepatitis A

 

Monroe County Health Department
MCHD promotes health and works to prevent disease and injury in our community. The mission of the Monroe County Health Department is to protect the public through health promotion, disease prevention and preservation of the environment.

Visit us at http://www.co.monroe.mi.us/publichealth.

For more information regarding the free Hepatitis A vaccine clinics, please call the Monroe County Health Department at 734-240-7800, Bridget Huss at 734-240-7831 or Chris Westover at 734-240-7921.