Update: Hepatitis A outbreak in Southeastern Michigan

September 13, 2017  //  FOUND IN: Updates & Resources

A large hepatitis A virus (HAV) outbreak continues to unfold across Southeastern Michigan with 15-25 new cases reported per week and a total of nearly 300 cases since August 2016. This outbreak is associated with very high rates of hospitalizations including more than 10 deaths. Thus far, reported cases have occurred in adult patients.

Usual outbreaks occur through ingestion of food, water or close contact with objects contaminated by feces of an HAV infected person. There has been no common food or water source identified in this outbreak.

Transmission occurs easily among sexual and close household contacts and persons sharing needles and non-injection drugs. Risk factors in this outbreak have included illicit substance use and homelessness.

How to help prevent HAV:

  • Practice proper hand hygiene after using the restroom and before handling food.
  • Get the Hepatitis A vaccine.
    • Health care personnel with chronic liver disease (cirrhosis, hepatitis B or C) are at high risk of complications of HAV.  Vaccination is highly encouraged.
    • Health care personnel who care for patients with HAV are encouraged to be vaccinated.
    • Vaccination is available to any staff members who are concerned about risk of HAV via Occupational Health Services, Monday-Friday from 7 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.
  • Post-exposure prophylaxis can prevent infection in an exposed person if given within 14 days.
  • Infection control practices in health care settings with acute HAV cases include:
    • Use standard precautions during all patient care activities. Use gloves when having direct contact with feces or contaminated materials.
    • Contact precautions-D should be used in the inpatient setting for patients with confirmed or suspected HAV infection.
    • Wash hands with soap and running water for at least 15 seconds after providing care for an individual with HAV. Alcohol-based hand rubs may not be effective against HAV.
    • Use bleach or other hospital approved disinfectants that are effective against norovirus to clean the environment or equipment.

Please contact occupational health at OccupationalHealth-RN@med.umich.edu if you have questions about vaccination for Michigan Medicine employees.

Please notify the Department of Infection Prevention and Epidemiology if you identify a patient with suspected or confirmed hepatitis A at 734-936-6355 or page 30032.

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