Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, Executive Director and Health Officer, Detroit Health Department Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, Medical Director, Detroit Health Department
Health officials at the Detroit Health Department and Michigan Department of Health & Human Services identified a second case of Hepatitis A in two weeks. Both of the cases had come in contact with sewage that had backed up into a basement. Both cases were of men working in homes on Detroit’s eastside in the Jefferson Chalmers area.
The news comes on the heels of sewer backups in the Jefferson Chalmers and Cornerstone Village area after severe storms in July and mid-August.
While it is not yet clear how these individual contracted Hepatitis A, contact with sewage can transmit the disease. For that reason, the Detroit Health Department recommends that anyone who may have come in contact with sewage seek preventative vaccination.
“While we don’t know exactly how two residents contracted Hepatitis A, the fact that both of them had come in contact with sewage makes us want to be extra careful.” said Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, Executive Director & Health Officer at the Detroit Health Department. “We want to make sure that anyone who may have come in contact with sewage receive preventive vaccinations. This can be done at the Doctor’s office or at the Health Department.”
City residents should contact their primary care physician or come to either of the Detroit Health Department’s clinics at Samaritan Center at 5555 Conner or Family Place located at 8726 Woodward Ave. by Friday Sept. 2.
Hepatitis A is a manageable virus that infects the liver and causes symptoms that can include abdominal pain, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dark urine. Most children who get the disease do not have symptoms. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should seek medical attention immediately. Symptoms usually last about 2 months in adults, although in some people it can last up to 6 months. Symptoms include abdominal pain, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and dark urine.
Over 99 percent of those who get hepatitis make a complete recovery, although it can be dangerous among seniors or those with pre-existing liver disease. The best way to avoid getting Hepatitis A is to practice good hand hygiene and avoid exposure. However, for those who may have been exposed to the virus, such as by contact with sewage, preventive vaccination is recommended.