Hepatitis A

As a result of hepatitis A outbreaks around the State, the Saginaw County Health Department (SCHD) would like to remind residents that vaccination and proper hand washing are your best defense against hepatitis A. 

Saginaw County currently is working with the Genesee County Health Department regarding a hepatitis A case in a food service worker at the KFC located in Grand Blanc Township and Birch Run, Michigan.  Anyone who consumed food or drink from the Birch Run KFC between November 14-16, or the Grand Blanc KFC from November 20-26, may have been exposed to hepatitis A.  We are recommending anyone who visited KFC during these dates and has not been vaccinated for hepatitis A or has sudden onset of any symptoms of hepatitis A should contact their doctor. Vaccination can prevent the disease if given within 14 days after exposure.  People who were possibly exposed at the Birch Run KFC location are outside the 14 days to get post exposure vaccination to prevent illness; however they should seek medical attention if any hepatitis A symptoms develop.  

Hepatitis A Overview

Hepatitis A is a serious, highly contagious liver disease caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV). HAV is found in the feces (poop) of people with hepatitis A. You can get hepatitis A by eating contaminated food or water, during sex, or just by living with an infected person. Illness can appear 15-50 days after exposure and you can be sick for several weeks. In some cases, people can die. Although not all people infected with hepatitis A experience illness, symptoms can include:

  • nausea and vomiting
  • belly pain
  • feeling tired
  • fever
  • loss of appetite
  • yellowing of the skin and eyes
  • dark urine
  • pale-colored feces (poop)
  • joint pain

There are steps you can take to reduce the risk of Hepatitis A transmission. Hepatitis A is a vaccine-preventable illness. While the hepatitis A vaccine is recommended as a part of the routine childhood vaccination schedule, most adults have not been vaccinated and may be susceptible to the hepatitis A virus. The best way to reduce the risk of getting hepatitis A is to get vaccinated with Hepatitis A vaccine. It is also recommended to wash your hands after going to the bathroom with soap and water for 20 seconds and before preparing meals for yourself and others. Do not have sex with someone who has HAV infection or share food, drinks, or smokes with other people.

What can the public do to protect themselves and their communities?

  • Get vaccinated against hepatitis A
  • Wash hands after using the restroom and before eating or preparing meals for yourself or others
  • Use your own towels, toothbrushes, and eating utensils
  • Do not have sex with someone who has HAV infection
  • Do not share food, drinks, drugs, or smokes with other people
  • If you think you may have hepatitis A, see your medical provider
  • If you have hepatitis A, please cooperate with your local public health to help protect others

Vaccination Information

Hepatitis A can be prevented with a safe and effective vaccine. We are encouraging persons in the high risk groups to get vaccinated.

Who Should Get the HAV Vaccine?

  • Persons who use injection and non-injection drugs.
  • Persons who are homeless.
  • Persons who are incarcerated.
  • Persons who have close contact, care for, or live with someone who has HAV.
  • Men who have sex with men.
  • Persons with chronic liver disease, such as cirrhosis, hepatitis B, or hepatitis C.*

*Note: individuals with chronic liver disease (e.g., cirrhosis and hepatitis C) may not be at increased risk of getting HAV infections but are at increased risk of having poor outcomes if they are infected with HAV.

Where to Get Vaccinated?

  • SCHD:  We offer hepatitis A vaccine in our Immunization Clinics, call (989) 758-3840 for more information.
  • Your Health Care Provider:  You may also obtain a hepatitis A vaccine from your health care provider.

For more information on the statewide hepatitis A outbreak visit the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services website.