ISABELLA COUNTY (WJRT) (12/1/2017) - The vast Hepatitis A outbreak sweeping through Mid-Michigan and Southeast Michigan has spread to Isabella County.
The Central Michigan District Health Department confirmed five cases of the illness have been reported in Isabella County since September. They are the first Hepatitis A cases in the county since 2011.
Most rural counties in Michigan only see one or two Hepatitis A cases each year, according to the health department. That makes the five cases reported over three months alarming.
A bakery employee at the Meijer on Pickard Street in Mount Pleasant was one of the confirmed Hepatitis A cases, but the health department says none of the other four confirmed cases is linked to that.
Instead, the other four cases are linked to the Mid-Michigan and Southeast Michigan outbreak that has been ongoing since August 2016.
More than 500 Hepatitis A cases have been reported in the counties of Macomb, Wayne, Oakland, St. Clair, Washtenaw, Monroe, Ingham, Livingston, Sanilac, Lapeer, Calhoun, Clare, Isabella, Hillsdale, Genesee and Huron.
Unlike most Hepatitis A outbreaks, the cases reported over the past 18 months are being transmitted person-to-person through drug use, sexual activity and among family members.
Hepatitis A mainly attacks the liver. Public health officials are encouraging everyone to get vaccinated and wash their hands before eating or touching their faces.