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Hepatitis A vaccinations available Monday at Ann Arbor restaurant

Washtenaw County Public Health and Cardamon, a casual eatery in Anne Arbor, MI  serving modern and traditional Indian Cuisine, are offering another opportunity to get hepatitis A vaccination.

The vaccinations will be available for a $20 fee from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. Monday at Cardamon, the restaurant at 1739 Plymouth Road in Ann Arbor. Washtenaw County Public Health has confirmed a case of hepatitis A in a person on Cardamon’s restaurant staff.

Washtenaw County Public Health is providing information to alert residents and guests to the possible exposure and to recommend prompt hepatitis A vaccination or immune globulin (IG) to potentially exposed individuals. Anyone who ate at the restaurant or had carry-out food between September 16 and October 3 may have been exposed.

Public health recommends vaccination or monitoring for symptoms for customers who either dined in the restaurant or who ate carry-out food between Sept 16 and Oct 3.

Washtenaw County Public Health is working closely with the restaurant to vaccinate all employees and to eliminate any additional risk of exposure.  The restaurant owners and employees are cooperating fully with Washtenaw County Public Health, but do not have additional information or health recommendations to provide. The individual with hepatitis A infection is not currently working and is receiving medical care.

“While hepatitis A can be very serious, we are fortunate to have an effective vaccine available,” says Jessie Kimbrough Marshall, MD, MPH, medical director with Washtenaw County Public Health. “We encourage anyone concerned about potential exposure to talk with their healthcare provider or Washtenaw County Public Health as soon as possible. Vaccination is strongly encouraged for all eligible individuals, as multiple counties in southeast Michigan have seen outbreaks of hepatitis A in recent months.”

Hepatitis A vaccine or immune globulin (IG) may protect against the disease if given within two weeks of exposure. Anyone potentially exposed to hepatitis should contact their healthcare provider to be assessed for vaccination or IG. Hepatitis A vaccine is available from health care providers, at pharmacies and Washtenaw County Public Health. People who have had hepatitis A disease or previously received two doses of the hepatitis A vaccine do not need to be vaccinated again.

Monitoring for Symptoms of Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is caused by the hepatitis A virus, and it can cause damage to the liver and other health problems.  Anyone who has consumed food and drink at Cardamom since Saturday, September 16, should monitor for symptoms of hepatitis A including fatigue, poor appetite, stomach pain or tenderness, nausea or vomiting, dark urine, and yellowing of the skin (jaundice).

Most children less than six years do not experience symptoms. Symptoms typically appear 2 to 6 weeks after exposure. Individuals with symptoms should call their provider or seek care.

Vaccination

The best way to prevent hepatitis A is to get vaccinated. The hepatitis A vaccine is now routinely recommended for children at one year of age. Most adults, however, may not be protected unless they did so for travel or other risk factors.

Who should get vaccinated against hepatitis A?

  • Persons who are homeless.
  • Persons who are in jail or prison.
  • Persons who use injection and non-injection illegal drugs.
  • Persons who work with the high-risk populations listed above.
  • Persons who have close contact, care for or live with someone who has hepatitis A.
  • Persons who have sexual activities with someone who has hepatitis A.
  • Men who have sex with men.
  • Anyone visiting countries with high or medium rates of hepatitis A.
  • Persons with chronic liver disease, such as cirrhosis, hepatitis B, or hepatitis C.
  • Anyone experiencing clotting factor disorders.
  • Any person who is concerned about potential exposure and wants to be immune.

Pregnant women who may have been exposed to the hepatitis A virus and who are not already vaccinated against it should receive both the hepatitis A vaccine and immune globulin (IG) to prevent infection. Washtenaw County’guidance is based on the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

How is it spread?

The hepatitis A virus is commonly spread from person-to-person by the fecal-oral route. Most infections result from contact with an infected household member or sex partners. Sometimes, infections result from contaminated food or drink. It is not spread through coughs or sneezes. Anyone who has hepatitis A can spread it to others for 1-2 weeks before symptoms appear.

Frequent hand-washing with soap and warm water after using the bathroom and before handling food can help prevent the spread of hepatitis A. Appropriately cooking food can also help prevent infection. Freezing does not kill the virus.

Outbreak in Southeast Michigan

There have been 341 cases of hepatitis A diagnosed in Southeast Michigan since August 2016, a sixteen-fold increase compared to the previous year. As of October 5, 2017, Washtenaw County has not been identified as a part of this outbreak. Public health does not yet know if this currently diagnosed case is related to the other illnesses.

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