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Updated: Hepatitis A

Update: As of Oct 20, no new cases have been reported in connection to the possible exposure to hepatitis A at a local restaurant. 

If you ate food or drink from the restaurant between Sept 16 and Oct 3, please continue to monitor yourself for symptoms for at least six weeks. Seek medical care if you have symptoms. 

Since more than two weeks have passed since the last possible exposure date (Oct 3), hepatitis A vaccination can no longer prevent infection from that potential exposure. Vaccination can prevent future illness from new exposures to the virus and is still strongly recommended. 

Reminder: The alert involving Cardamom restaurant was about a past possible exposure, now ended. Continued gratitude to Cardamom. The restaurant has been an exemplary partner in this situation. They did nothing wrong and did not cause this to happen. They have done everything they could to protect everyone's health. Please visit and thank them!

Vaccine Availability: We continue to offer hepatitis A vaccination by appointment to individuals at risk of infection, or anyone without health insurance. Call 734-544-6700 to schedule. If you have health care coverage, hepatitis A vaccine is likely available to you free from your health care provider or pharmacy. See vaccinefinder.org for options.

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Original Alert Information:

Washtenaw County Public Health has confirmed a case of hepatitis A in a local restaurant worker. Washtenaw County Public Health is providing information to alert residents and guests to the possible exposure.

The diagnosed individual works at Cardamom restaurant located at 1739 Plymouth Road in Ann Arbor. Anyone who ate at the restaurant or had carry-out food between September 16 and October 3 may have been exposed.

Washtenaw County Public Health is working closely with the restaurant to vaccinate all employees and to eliminate any additional risk of exposure. Concerned individuals and members of the media are urged to contact Washtenaw County Public Health or their health care provider with questions. Please do not contact the restaurant. 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 health care 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 provide protection 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 at 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/or drink at Cardamom from Sept 16 through Oct 3, 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 6 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 1 year of age. Most adults, however, may not be vaccinated unless they did so for travel or other risk factors.

Who should get vaccinated against hepatitis A?

    • Persons who are homeless.
    • Persons who are incarcerated.
    • 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.
    • Travelers to countries with high or medium rates of hepatitis A.
    • Persons with chronic liver disease, such as cirrhosis, hepatitis B, or hepatitis C.
    • Persons with 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. This guidance is based on the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. More information for health care providers.

    How is it spread?

    The hepatitis A virus is most 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, infection results from food or drink that is contaminated with the virus. 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 foods 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. It is not yet known if this currently diagnosed case is related to the outbreak. Learn more about the Southeast Michigan outbreak at www.mi.gov/hepatitisaoutbreak.  

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