Fatigue, fever, stomach pain, nausea and vomiting may not just be your average flu symptoms, but rather a deadly disease called hepatitis A.

Eighteen months ago, a hepatitis A outbreak began in Metro Detroit and is still continuing to affect communities across Michigan. Ingham County is among those on high alert.

Hepatitis A is often spread through the ingestion of food or water or any oral contact contaminated with infected feces. This means that the spread of hepatitis A can easily occur among high-risk individuals; such as people who are homeless or those who are involved with illegal recreational drug use.

The Ingham County Health Department has decided to launch a campaign to inform residents how to prevent contracting the liver disease. The campaign will encourage people to wash their hands regularly, identify symptoms, and classify their level of risk for the infection. In order to ensure the campaign will reach everyone, there will be informative billboards, newspaper ads, social media including an online quiz for those to assess their risks and a text for information campaign.

“We want those at high risk to get vaccinated, but everyone should be aware of hepatitis A and take care to prevent it by properly washing their hands,” said Ingham Country Health Office Linda S. Vail. “Anyone can get hepatitis A, but some people are at greater risk in this outbreak.”

Even those who are not at a high risk need to still be mindful of how to prevent the disease, as there have been 26 individuals infected in Ingham County with one resulting in a death. The Ingham County Health Department is asking people to get vaccinated, and those at a greater risk can do so at zero cost to them.

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