Renaissance Festival attendee found to have hepatitis A

Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News
The Health Department recommended festival goers and workers who were there on those dates get vaccinated.

Holly — The Oakland County Health Division said a person attending the Michigan Renaissance Festival was found to have hepatitis A. 

The person was sick while attending the festival in Holly on Sept. 1, 2, and 3, officials said Friday. 

The Health Department recommended festival goers and workers who were there on those dates get vaccinated. For those who were there on the first, they have until Saturday to get vaccinated if they haven't already. For those who were there on the second, they have until Sunday. Those who were there on the third have until Monday. 

"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.”

Officials also said the festival's organizers are working with the health department and have added additional hand washing stations at the fair to prevent the spread of hepatitis A.

Attendees unable to get vaccinated by Saturday should watch for hepatitis A symptoms including abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, headache, dark urine or vomiting, often followed by yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice). Symptoms may appear from 14-50 days after exposure but on average appear in about one month.

The Health Department will host two hepatitis A vaccine clinics at the North Oakland Health Center, 1200 North Telegraph Road, Building 34 East in Pontiac. The clinic will be held 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.

“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.”

Wayne County also reported a case this week of hepatitis A in a worker at Omelette and Waffle Café at 580 Forest Avenue in Plymouth.

Oakland County is considered a "hepatitis A outbreak county," with more than 120 cases confirmed since Aug. 1, 2016. Since then, Michigan has reported 886 confirmed cases of hepatitis A, including 713 hospitalizations and 28 fatalities. Confirmed cases include those in Fenton and Huron, Ingham, Lapeer, Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, Sanilac, St. Clair, Washtenaw and Wayne counties.