Memo submitted to attorney general includes request to halt planned water shutoffs

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Coleman A. Young II (D–Detroit) today sent a memorandum to Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette requesting a formal inquiry between the increase in number of cases of hepatitis A and other waterborne skin diseases as they relate to the impact of 83,000 City of Detroit residential water shutoffs during the last three years.

“I am asking for an official inquiry to be launched immediately on behalf of the general health and welfare of the citizens of Detroit,” Sen. Young said. “There is an imminent health crisis unfolding with hepatitis A, which is contagious, and there are people being exposed to unnecessary health risks because of it.”

In late March, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services issued a warning to residents in southeast Michigan after they noticed an eight-fold increase in cases of hepatitis A over the past year. They urged residents in the region to get vaccinated after laboratory tests confirmed an elevated number of hepatitis A cases in the city of Detroit, as well as Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties. Officials have been unable to identify or attribute a common source to the outbreak of hepatitis A.

“I’ve also asked the attorney general to intervene and stop the planned 18,000 additional residential water shutoffs,” Sen. Young said. “Detroiters deserve to know the source of the hepatitis A outbreak, and I’m hoping the requested inquiry can tell us that and get to the bottom of this.”