Health

Hepatitis A Exposure at the Michigan Renaissance Festival

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Hepatitis A Exposure at the Michigan Renaissance Festival. (Photo: WEYI/WSMH)

PONTIAC, Mich – The Oakland County Health Division was alerted this evening that an attendee of the Michigan Renaissance Festival in Holly has a confirmed case of hepatitis A and was ill while attending the festival on September 1.

The Health Department strongly recommends that those attending and working the festival on September 1 and September 2 get a hepatitis A vaccine by Saturday, September 15, if they have not been vaccinated.

“Vaccination can prevent the disease if given within 14 days after potential exposure,” said Leigh-Anne Stafford, health officer for the Health Division. “If you have attended the Michigan Renaissance Festival during these dates and have not been vaccinated for hepatitis A or have a sudden onset of any symptoms, contact your doctor.”

Attendees unable to get vaccinated by September 15, are advised to be aware of hepatitis A symptoms such as sudden abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, headache, dark urine, and/or vomiting often followed by yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice). Symptoms may appear from 14-50 days after exposure, but average about one month.

Oakland County’s Nurse on Call hotline, 1-800-848-5533, will be open on Friday, September 14th from 8:30 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. to answer calls. The Health Division will also host two special hepatitis A vaccine clinics:

Friday, September 14, 8:30 a.m. – 7 p.m. at the North Oakland Health Center, 1200 N. Telegraph Road, Building 34 East, Pontiac.

Saturday, September 15, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the North Oakland Health Center, 1200 N. Telegraph Road, Building 34 East, Pontiac.

“We are still experiencing a serious, ongoing hepatitis A outbreak both locally and statewide. Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease that can range from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious illness lasting several months,” said Stafford. “Vaccination, good hygiene, and proper sanitation of surfaces can prevent the spread of hepatitis A.”

The hepatitis A vaccine is also available through some healthcare providers and many pharmacies. Call ahead to ensure your provider or pharmacy has the vaccine available. Vaccines are available at both Health Division offices in Pontiac and Southfield at the following addresses:

North Oakland Health Center, 1200 N. Telegraph Road, Building 34 East, Pontiac

South Oakland Health Center, 27725 Greenfield Road, Southfield

Regular clinic hours are Mondays, noon – 8 p.m. and Tuesdays through Fridays, 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Pre-payment and registration are not available at these walk-in clinics.

Hepatitis A is an infection of the liver caused by a virus. The virus is shed in feces and is most commonly spread from person to person by unclean hands contaminated with feces. To reduce the risk of hepatitis A:

  • Get the hepatitis A vaccine.
  • Wash hands frequently, especially after using the bathroom, changing diapers, and before preparing and eating food. Rub hands vigorously with soap and warm running water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Clean and disinfect all surface areas, especially while someone in the household or workplace has symptoms. Particular care needs to be taken with areas such as toilets, sinks, trash, door knobs, and faucet handles.
  • Do not prepare food if you have symptoms and refrain from food preparation for at least three days after symptoms have ended.
  • Exclude ill food service workers from the establishment immediately until clearance from OCHD is received.

The hepatitis A vaccine consists of two doses, given six months apart and costs $52 per adult dose and $38 per child dose. No one will be denied access to services due to inability to pay. A discounted / sliding fee schedule is available. Everyone will be assessed for eligibility for free vaccine through the adult vaccine program.

If you have insurance, check with your healthcare/insurance provider for possible benefit coverage. The Health Division participates in the Vaccines for Children (VFC) Program which offers vaccines at no cost for eligible children up to 18-years-old. Payment options include cash and credit card. Credit card fees apply. Bring all insurance and identification cards to the clinic.

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