Michigan hepatitis A outbreak prompts Community Health Emergency Coordination Center activation

457 cases of hepatitis A confirmed in SE Michigan since August 2016

(Tim Whitby/Getty Images)

LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services activated the Community Health Emergency Coordination Center to assist in responding to the growing hepatitis A outbreak.

In a statement released Tuesday, the health department said the center will provide education, medical resources and help develop guidelines to local health departments, hospitals, EMS, healthcare coalitions and other healthcare providers. 

"To help coordinate Michigan’s response to the hepatitis A outbreak, we are opening the Community Health Emergency Coordination Center to assist the multiple local public health jurisdictions involved in the response and prevention of further cases," MDHHS director Nick Lyon said.

MDHHS officials urge all health care providers to encourage vaccinations in an attempt to prevent the outbreak to spread outside of southeast Michigan. Officials said those at highest risk of infection are people with a history of substance abuse, men who have sex with men, incarcerated prisoners, food handlers, healthcare workers, people underlying liver disease and those who are in close contact with any of the other at-risk groups. 

"We know that the hepatitis A vaccine is more than 90 percent effective in protecting someone who may be exposed to hepatitis A," MDHHS chief medical executive Dr. Eden Wells said. "Without a single source associated with these cases, the importance of vaccination and proper hygiene is vital to ensuring we stop the person-to-person spread of hepatitis A." 

There have been 457 confirmed cases of hepatitis A in southeast Michigan since August 2016. 

More information about the hepatitis A outbreak in Michigan and current recommendations are available here

Sign up for ClickOnDetroit breaking news alerts and email newsletters