Monroe Co. Health Dept. sets up clinic for those affected in Hepatitis A outbreak

Monroe Co. Health Dept. sets up clinic for those affected in Hepatitis A outbreak

MONROE COUNTY, MI (WTOL) - The Monroe County Health Department is holding a free clinic for those who may have been infected with Hepatitis A following an outbreak that began in November.

The department confirmed outbreak began with an employee at Tim Horton's Restaurant, located at 404 South Monroe street in Monroe, Michigan.

Officials from the Monroe health department said anyone who has consumed food or drink from that specific Tim Horton's sine November 21 through December 8, should monitor for symptoms of Hepatitis A. Symptoms typically appear two to six weeks after exposure.

"Hepatitis A is a virus that will attack really your liver and it spreads like so many of these diseases," explained Eric Zgodzinski with the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department.

It spreads mainly through contaminated food or water and through sexual intercourse.

The clinic will be open until 6:30 Tuesday and reopen Wednesday between 10-11:30 a.m. and 1:30 until 6:30 p.m.

Those who may be infected may also visit Thursday and Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 11:30 p.m. and between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.

The Health Department also set up a hotline for those with questions at 734-240-7878.

Officials in Lucas County said they're keeping watch.

"We are not seeing the issue like Michigan is seeing. Last year we had five cases, for the year, right now we have six," said Zgodzinski

Still, health officials want you to know how to prevent Hepatitis A. They say it all starts with washing your hands.

"Individuals who don't go to the bathroom, who go to the bathroom but then don't wash their hands properly can spread it," states Zgodzinski.

That is why experts stress staying healthy and clean. They said you should contact your doctor if you're not feeling well to make sure what you have is not severe.

Symptoms of Hepatitis A vary. Symptoms could be fatigue, sudden nausea, abdominal pain discomfort, colored stools, loss of appetite.

"Again, there's a couple things in there that you can go ahead and look at some of those things with your doctor and they can run tests for you," said Zgodzinski.

In addition to washing your hands, experts said you should get vaccinated.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services reported that there have been more than 480 cases of hepatitis A hospitalizations in the southeast part of the state since last Thursday.

"They're working feverishly trying to make sure that they curb that, but again here in Lucas County we're not seeing it this point in time," said Zgodzinski.

Lucas County health officials said they are staying vigilant.

"We're out there looking at restaurant,  doing those inspections, but mainly it's not a dirty floor that really is going to get somebody sick," explained Zgodzinski.

Anyone interested in learning more about the virus should click here.

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