Calley: State activates emergency hepatitis A response center

Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News

Michigan Lt. Gov. Brian Calley said Wednesday the state's emergency operations center has been activated to help address Michigan's hepatitis A outbreak.

The State Emergency Operations Center is a facility in Lansing where state, local and federal agencies coordinate the response to a disaster, emergency or terrorist event. It is overseen by the Michigan State Police's Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division.

“The health and safety of Michiganders is the top priority as we work to contain and prevent this deadly virus from spreading further," Calley said in a statement. “Activating the State Emergency Operations Center will ensure that all state and local agencies are working together to combat this outbreak.”

The move comes a day after the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services activated an emergency center to coordinate with local officials on a growing number of hepatitis cases. 

Since Aug. 1, 2016, Michigan has seen 457 confirmed cases of hepatitis A, including 18 fatalities, in Detroit as well as Huron, Ingham, Lapeer, Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, Sanilac, St. Clair, Washtenaw and Wayne counties.

Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease that is caused by a virus. The disease can range from a mild illness to a severe sickness that can last several months. Symptoms can appear similar to the flu as well as yellow-colored eyes and skin as well as dark urine.

A person can get the virus by eating contaminated food, drinking contaminated water, or by having sex with someone who has been infected or by living with an infected person.