Since the outbreak began in Michigan in August 2016, 771 people have become infected with hepatitis A – 25 have died. Men who have sex with men (MSM) are at a greater risk of contracting the highly contagious liver disease. To help combat the spread of the virus, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is offering eight mobile vaccination clinics to be stationed at bars, nightclubs and other spots popular amongst MSM throughout March.
"We are continuing to offer mobile clinics to help ensure this high-risk population is vaccinated against this highly contagious and sometimes fatal disease," says Dr. Eden Wells, chief medical executive with MDHHS. "The hepatitis A vaccine is more than 90 percent effective in protecting someone who may be exposed to the disease."
The hepatitis A virus is found in the feces of infected people and is spread by eating contaminated food or water, during sex or by living with an infected person. Symptoms of the disease include: nausea and vomiting, belly pain, feeling tired, fever, loss of appetite, yellowing of the skin and eyes, dark urine, pale-colored feces and joint pain. Illegal drug users, those who have recently been incarcerated, homeless people or those living in transient living situations and people with underlying liver disease are also at an increased risk.
MDHHS recommends regular and efficient hand washing and avoiding sex with infected partners. A complete listing of the mobile clinic locations follows. The hepatitis vaccine is also available at local pharmacies, through healthcare providers and from local health departments.
Tuesday, March 6, 10 p.m.-1 a.m. • 6426 Woodward Ave., Detroit
Thursday, March 8, 8-11 p.m. • Adam's Apple, 18931 W. Warren Ave., Detroit
Saturday, March 10, 2-5 p.m. • Affirmations, 290 W. Nine Mile Road, Ferndale
Monday, March 12, 4-7 p.m. • Ruth Ellis, 77 Victor St., Highland Park
Friday, March 16, 10 p.m.-1 a.m. • Hayloft, 8070 Greenfield Road, Detroit
Thursday, March 22, 9 p.m.-midnight • Liberty Bar, 85 N. Saginaw St., Pontiac
Saturday, March 24, 10 p.m.-1 a.m. • Menjo's, 928 W. McNichols Road, Detroit
Friday, March 30, 10 p.m.-1 a.m. • GiGi's, 16920 W. Warren Ave., Detroit