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State asks pharmacists to help fight hepatitis A outbreak

Feb 18, 2018

Credit Rhoda Baer / Flickr - http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The state is looking to pharmacists to help combat elevated cases of hepatitis A in Michigan.

Last week, the Department of Health and Human Services sent a letter to pharmacies across the state. It outlines how the virus is transmitted and lists symptoms associated with the disease. 

The letter also reminds pharmacists that there are preventative services they can provide that are covered under Michigan Medicaid, including prevention counseling and vaccinations.

Lynn Sutfin with DHHS says pharmacists can be especially helpful when it comes to encouraging high-risk groups like homeless people and drug users get vaccinated.

"Pharmacies are plentiful; they’re almost on every corner. They give a lot more opportunities for some of these high risk groups to get in and get their vaccine," Sutfin says.

As of last week, there have been 751 cases of hepatitis A identified in Michigan since August 2016. Of those, 25 have been fatal.