Hepatitis A Exposure at West Bloomfield High School Event

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WEST BLOOMFIELD, MI – An individual who worked at West Bloomfield High School’s “Starving Arts Luncheon” on April 21st, 2018, has a confirmed case of hepatitis A. Oakland County Health Division advises those who attended the luncheon to get a hepatitis A vaccine by May 5, if they have not been vaccinated, or contact their doctor if they have a sudden onset of any symptoms.West Bloomfield High School

“Vaccination can prevent the disease if given within 14 days after potential exposure,” said Leigh-Anne Stafford, health officer for the Health Division. “If you attended this event and have not been vaccinated for hepatitis A or have a sudden onset of any symptoms, contact your doctor.”

The Health Division is working with West Bloomfield High School to prevent further spread of illness. A letter was sent to all event attendees informing them of the confirmed case, encouraging vaccination, and recommending that they watch for symptoms.

The hepatitis A vaccine is available through some healthcare providers and many pharmacies. Call ahead to ensure your provider or pharmacy has the vaccine available. Vaccines are available at both Health Division offices in Pontiac and Southfield at the following addresses:

Clinic hours are Mondays, noon – 8 p.m. and Tuesdays through Fridays, 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Pre-payment and registration are not available at these walk-in clinics.

“Michigan is experiencing a serious, ongoing hepatitis A outbreak. Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease that can range from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious illness lasting several months,” said Dr. Pamela Hackert, medical director for the Health Division. “Vaccination, good hygiene, and proper sanitation of surfaces can prevent the spread of hepatitis A.”

Hepatitis A is an infection of the liver caused by a virus. The virus is shed in feces and is most commonly spread from person to person by unclean hands contaminated with feces. Symptoms of infection may include sudden abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, headache, dark urine, and/or vomiting often followed by yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice). Symptoms may appear from 14-50 days after exposure, but average about one month.

Hepatitis A vaccine consists of two doses, given six months apart, and costs $40 per adult dose and $26 per child dose. If you have insurance, check with your healthcare/insurance provider for possible benefit coverage. The Health Division participates in the Vaccines for Children (VFC) Program which offers vaccines at no cost for eligible children up to 18-years-old. No one will be denied access to services due to inability to pay. A discounted/sliding fee schedule is available. Payment options include cash and credit card. Credit card fees apply. Bring all insurance and identification cards to the clinic.

To reduce the risk of hepatitis A:

  • Get the hepatitis A vaccine.
  • Wash hands frequently, especially after using the bathroom, changing diapers, and before preparing and eating food. Rub hands vigorously with soap and warm running water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Clean and disinfect all surface areas, especially while someone in the household or workplace has symptoms. Particular care needs to be taken with areas such as toilets, sinks, trash, door knobs, and faucet handles. 
  • Do not prepare food if you have symptoms and refrain from food preparation for at least three days after symptoms have ended.
  • Exclude ill food service workers from the establishment immediately until clearance from OCHD is received.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends hepatitis A vaccination for the following groups:

  • All children at age 1 year
  • Travelers to countries that have high rates of hepatitis A
  • Family members and caregivers of recent adoptees from countries where hepatitis A is common
  • Men who have sexual contact with other men
  • People who use injection and non-injection illegal drugs
  • People with chronic (lifelong) liver diseases, such as hepatitis B or hepatitis C
  • People who are treated with clotting-factor concentrates
  • People who work with hepatitis A infected animals or in a hepatitis A research laboratory

For more information about hepatitis A, visit www.oakgov.com/health. Nurse on Call is available at 800-848-5533 or noc@oakgov.com, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. For up-to-date public health information, follow @publichealthOC on Facebook and Twitter.

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