Hepatitis A outbreak comes to Genesee County, with 5 confirmed cases

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GENESEE COUNTY (WJRT) (11/15/2017) - Three new Hepatitis A cases were reported in Genesee County in October, one of which is connected to an outbreak spreading through Mid-Michigan and Southeast Michigan.

Two other Hepatitis A infections were reported in the county earlier this year not connected to the outbreak.

Since August 2016, nearly 500 cases of Hepatitis A have been reported in the city of Detroit and the counties Macomb, Wayne, Oakland, St. Clair, Washtenaw, Monroe, Ingham, Livingston, Sanilac, Lapeer, Calhoun, Clare, Isabella, Hillsdale, and Huron. One case from Genesee County has been linked to this outbreak.

The state of Michigan has activated its emergency operations center to coordinate work with public health officials in monitoring and slowing the outbreak, which is being blamed for at least 12 deaths.

The Genesee County Health Department is encouraging residents to get vaccinated for Hepatitis A to stop the disease from spreading further. Handwashing also helps prevent people from getting infected.

Hepatitis A is a viral infection of the liver. It is most commonly spread from person to person through the fecal-oral route, meaning the infected person ingested something contaminated with fecal matter from another person.

Consuming contaminated food or water is the most common means of spreading the infection. It also can spread through sex, using infected needles or just by living with an infected person.

Symptoms include sudden abdominal pain, dark urine, nausea, fatigue, diarrhea, headache, fever, loss of appetite, and vomiting followed by yellowing of the eyes or skin.

Symptoms typically appear about one month after exposure, but may appear within two to six weeks of being exposed.

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