Family Physicians Key in Statewide Effort to Stop Hepatitis A Outbreak

On March 23, MAFP participated in a meeting with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) to discuss the status of the hepatitis A outbreak in Michigan and how Family Physicians can help turn the tide.

What was first identified as an outbreak in southeast Michigan in August 2016 has now spread to more than 30 counties. As of March 28, 797 cases of hepatitis A have been confirmed in the state, with 640 hospitalizations, and 25 deaths. Transmission appears to be through direct person-to-person spread and illicit drug use. No common sources of food, beverages, or drugs have been identified as a potential source of infection. At greatest risk are those with a history of illicit drug use (injection and non-injection), individuals experiencing homelessness or transient living, men who have sex with men, people recently in jail or prison, and those with underlying liver disease.

Family Physicians are asked to:

  • Maintain a high index of suspicion for hepatitis A infection and screen patients at risk
  • Increase awareness of hepatitis A by distributing informational materials / displaying posters (available in multiple languages)
  • Promote vaccination for those exposed and anyone in a risk group
  • Follow standard precautions and proper handwashing
  • Report all suspect and confirmed hepatitis A cases to the local health department

Click here for resources from MDHHS