Hepatitis A outbreak prompts state agencies to take action toward prevention

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – The severity of the Hepatitis A outbreak that’s recently surfaced in Ingham County has led state officials to take action when it comes toward prevention.

State and local agencies announced their efforts to gain control of the virus Wednesday, including collaborative efforts with the “State Emergency Operations Center” (SEOC).

Since August, three people in Ingham County have been diagnosed with Hepatitis A; one of those people died.

The outbreak led state agencies, including the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) to step up and get ahead by implementing the “Community Health Emergency Coordination Center” (CHECC) and their goal?

“Number one is prevention…this is a vaccine preventable disease and the vaccine itself is more than 90 percent effective. Our second point is really focusing on getting people and identifying people who are ill and getting them into treatment as soon as possible,” said Angela Minicuci; spokesperson for the MDHHS.

Minicuci says a handful of cases in Ingham County are now being tied to an outbreak in southeast Michigan and crews are working around the clock to determine how the virus is spreading.

“We haven’t identified one particular source of all the cases being exposed, it really is person to person transmission,” Minicuci stated.

Stephanie Schauer, a nurse practitioner for Sparrow’s Fast Care says since news of the Hepatitis A outbreak, vaccinations have increased and staff continue to push for prevention.

“When people are coming in with those mild flu symptoms or vomiting, diarrhea then it’s something we certainly consider is checking their Hepatitis A immunization status,” said Schauer.

The outbreak is so concerning that Ingham County health officials say they’ve even went to a number of homeless shelters this past week to vaccinate staff and those taking shelter as a step toward combatting this virus.

For more information on Hepatitis A, head to the “Seen on 6” section of our website.

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