Confirmed: 1st Hepatitis A case in Allegan County

ALLEGAN, MICH. - The Allegan County Health Department (ACHD) has confirmed the county has a hepatitis A case affecting a resident. The case is linked to the outbreak in southeast Michigan.

At this time the person is not considered to be at high risk of spreading the liver disease to others, health officials say. 

According to data from Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, there have been 692 confirmed cases of hepatitis A since August 2016. Ionia, Kent, and Van Buren counties each have one confirmed case, while Calhoun County has three. Calhoun County is the only West Michigan county to be added to the state's designated hepatitis A outbreak area. 

Hepatitis A is a highly contagious liver disease. It can cause fatigue, fever, nausea and/or loss of appetite, as well as abdominal pain, joint pain and jaundice. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, most people recover from hepatitis A but some cases have advanced to liver failure and death. 

Health officials report that the disease is spreading directly from person-to-person via drug use. 

It is recommended that all individuals be vaccinated against hepatitis A. The following groups are at the highest risk of contracting the disease and should seek immunization immediately: 

  • Persons who:
    • are homeless or in transient living
    • are incarcerated
    • use injection and non-injection illegal drugs
    • who have close contact, care for or live with someone with hepatitis A
    • who has had sex with someone with hepatitis A
    • have chronic liver disease such as cirrhosis, hepatitis B or hepatitis C
    • have clotting factor disorders
    • work with the high risk populations listed above (i.e.: healthcare workers, jail staff)
  • Men who have sex with men
  • Travelers to countries with high or medium rates of hepatitis A

For more information about hepatitis A, visit the either the CDC's or MDHHS's website. Contact your health care provider or local health department for information about getting vaccinated. 

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April Stevens is a multi-platform producer at WZZM 13. Have a news tip? Email news@wzzm13.com, visit our Facebook page or Twitter.

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