Hepatitis A Cases Confirmed in Detroit Area Pizzerias

Hepatitis A vaccines Vaqta, Havrix and Twinrix in short supply

The Oakland County Health Division announced Tuesday that two individuals who are employed at Papa Romano and Paul’s Pizza have been diagnosed with the contagious disease.

The Health Division advises all restaurant staff and guests who consumed food from these restaurants between Nov. 22 and 26 to get a hepatitis A vaccine, if they have not been vaccinated.

Southeast Michigan has seen an increase in hepatitis A cases since 2016, according to the Health Division.

Additionally, hepatitis A cases have been reported in California, Michigan, Utah, New York, and Florida.

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

Hepatitis A is a communicable disease of the liver caused by the hepatitis A virus. Generally, the risk of transmission of hepatitis A from an infected employee is low, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Hepatitis A can potentially be prevented if given a vaccination within two weeks of having come in contact with the virus.

The Detroit Health Department will be offering hepatitis A vaccines to uninsured Detroit residents at both of its Immunization Clinics: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, 8am to 5pm and Wednesday 9am to 6pm.

These 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

“We are diligently working with our state partners, physicians, hospitals, food establishments, and community groups to educate the community, limit any potential exposures, and vaccinate those who are at risk,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, Director and Health Officer of the Detroit Health Department.

The Detroit Health Department can be contacted at 313-876-4000.

According to the CDC, you should get hepatitis A vaccine if you:

  • are traveling to countries where hepatitis A is common
  • are a man who has sex with other men
  • use illegal drugs
  • have a chronic liver disease such as hepatitis B or hepatitis C
  • are being treated with clotting-factor concentrates
  • work with hepatitis A-infected animals or in a hepatitis A research laboratory

Someone with hepatitis can be contagious to others before they develop symptoms.

Anyone who has been immunized with the hepatitis A vaccine or previously had the disease, are considered protected from the virus.

Individuals can obtain hepatitis A immunizations through their primary care physicians, and through many pharmacies. To find a HepA vaccine location, visit the Vaccine Finder.

Hepatitis A vaccine is an inactivated (killed) vaccine, according to the CDC.

You will need 2 doses for long-lasting protection. These doses should be given at least 6 months apart. Children are routinely vaccinated between their first and second birthdays (12 through 23 months of age).

Older children and adolescents can get the vaccine after 23 months. Adults who have not been vaccinated previously and want to be protected against hepatitis A can also get the vaccine.

There are three FDA approved hepatitis A vaccines:

  • Vaqta (Merck) and Havrix (GlaxoSmithKline Beecham Biologicals), are approved for people ≥12 months of age in a 2-dose series
  • A combined hepatitis A and hepatitis B Twinrix, (GlaxoSmithKline) vaccine is approved for people ≥18 years of age in the United States

The CDC Vaccine Price List provides current HAV vaccine contract prices and general information.

Vaccine discounts can be found here.