SOUTHFIELD (WWJ) – There are now two more local cases of hepatitis A, this time at a pair of metro Detroit pizza shops.

The Oakland County Health Division announced Tuesday that an employee of Papa Romano’s, located at 23926 W. Nine Mile Road and Telegraph Road in Southfield, has been diagnosed with the contagious disease.

The Health Division advises all restaurant staff and guests who consumed food from the restaurant between Nov. 22 and 26 to get a hepatitis A vaccine, if they have not been vaccinated, or contact o their doctor if they have a sudden onset of any symptoms.

Also Tuesday, the Detroit Health Department said it investigating a hepatitis A case at Paul’s Pizza on West Vernor in Detroit. Anyone who visited the restaurant Nov. 20 through Nov. 25 is also being encourage to get a vaccine.

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. Symptoms of infection may include 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.

“Vaccination can prevent the disease if given within 14 days after potential exposure,” said Leigh-Anne Stafford, health officer for Oakland County. “Southeast Michigan is experiencing a serious hepatitis A outbreak. All residents are urged to get vaccinated, especially food handlers and healthcare providers, and to wash hands thoroughly.”

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 prep 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 is available through some healthcare providers and many pharmacies. Call ahead to ensure your provider or pharmacy has the vaccine available.

In Oakland County, vaccines are also 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

Hours are noon – 8 p.m. on Mondays and 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays. Pre-payment and registration are not available at these walk-in clinics. Help is available for those who are uninsured or otherwise cannot afford a vaccine.

The Detroit Health Department, meanwhile, is offering Hepatitis A vaccines to uninsured Detroit residents at both of its Immunization Clinics: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, 8 am to 5 p.m. and Wednesday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The clinics are located at:

• The Samaritan Center (5555 Conner Street Detroit, MI 48213) 313-410-8142
• The Family Place (8726 Woodward Avenue Detroit, MI 48202) 313-410-7803
• The Detroit Health Department recommends that non-Detroit residents contact their local Health Department if they are uninsured and consumed food and beverages at the Paul’s Pizza at 7635 West Vernor during the exposure period. Information for the local health departments:

Wayne County residents who live outside of Detroit can call 734-727-7100, and Macomb County residents can call 586-469-5372 for vaccination information

Vaccination is especially  recommended for the following at–risk individuals:

  • Health care workers who have direct contact with patients
  • People who use injection and non-injection illegal drugs
  • People who participate in commercial exchange of sexual practices
  • People who are homeless or in transient living situations
  • People who are or have recently been incarcerated
  • Close personal contacts (e.g., household, sexual) of hepatitis A patients
  • Food handlers
  • Men who have sex with men
  • People with liver diseases, such as hepatitis B or hepatitis C. Persons with chronic liver disease have an elevated risk of death from liver failure.
  • Any person who wishes to be immune to hepatitis A
  • People who live, work, or recreate in SE Michigan and are concerned about getting hepatitis A

For more information about hepatitis A in Oakland County, visit www.oakgov.com/health. Nurse on Call is available at 800-848-5533 or noc@oakgov.com, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.

For Detroit residents with questions, the Detroit Health Department can be contacted at 313-876-4000.

Learn more about the Southeast Michigan outbreak at www.mi.gov/hepatitisaoutbreak. Another good source of information is The  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website at www.cdc.gov/hepatitis.

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