A Hepatitis A outbreak has been ravaging through Southeastern Michigan since August of 2016, according to information from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has data on the number of confirmed cases of Hepatitis A from Aug. 1, 2016 to Feb. 20, 2018; this data is broken down at the county level, with the City of Detroit also being included. A closer look at draft summary data from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services shows that the number of confirmed outbreak related cases really started to increase in July of 2017.
The Hepatitis A disease is a liver infection that is spread person-to-person. An individual can contract Hepatitis A from contaminated food or drink of from contact with an infected individual. Since the outbreak struck the Metro-Detroit area there have been numerous news stories related to individuals infected with Hepatitis A working at different restaurants. Attention to these situations has been part of the public outreach process not only to inform individuals about potential contamination if they ate at a restaurant with a confirmed Hepatitis A case, but to also raise awareness about the regional outbreak to all citizens.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services states that there is no common source of food, beverage or drug identified as the potential source of infection. The Department also states that transmission appears to be through illicit drug use with direct person-to-person contact; those with a history of drug use, incarceration, transient housing and/or homelessness appear to be at the highest risk.
According to the data, Macomb County has had the highest number of confirmed cases since Aug. 1, 2016 at 211. The City of Detroit came in second with a total of 161 confirmed Hepatitis A cases between Aug. 1, 2016 and Feb. 20, 2018. In Wayne County there were 132 confirmed cases. Throughout the state there have been 760 confirmed Hepatitis A cases since Aug. 1, 2016, 615 of which have resulted in hospitalization and 25 of which have resulted in death. The number of confirmed cases in Macomb County makes up 28 percent of the total confirmed cases in Michigan and the number of confirmed cases in Detroit makes up 21 percent. The only other county in the state to have more than 100 confirmed Hepatitis A cases since Aug. 1, 2016 was Oakland County; according to the data there was 103 confirmed cases.
In addition to the data highlighting how the Hepatitis A outbreak is concentrated in the tri-county region, the data also shows that the median age of those infected with Hepatitis A since Aug. 1, 2016 is 41 and 35 percent of those with a confirmed case of Hepatitis A are female.