Health Care

Plans Stepped Up to Curb San Diego Hepatitis Outbreak

Plans Stepped Up to Curb San Diego Hepatitis Outbreakā€

The victims have been mainly homeless people, who have been coming to the city in significantly increasing numbers.

The 3-part plan focuses on immunization, sanitation and education with most of the efforts focused on the homeless population who are the most at-risk population.

San Diego had chose to mimic a sanitation campaign employed by Los Angeles after previous vaccination efforts and education programs failed to curb the infection rate. Officials declared a public health emergency due to the disease's large-scale effects - it has killed 15 people and put 300 more in the hospital, US News and World Report states.

The street power-washing will take place in the downtown area of San Diego on Monday and continue every other week in an effort to combat the outbreak, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer's office said Friday, according to the Associated Press. Meanwhile, San Diego County requested that city move forward with a list of specific sanitation actions created to help control the spread of the disease. Their letter asked authorities to regularly pressure-wash dirty right-of-way roads with chlorinated water, and gave them five business days to enact policy to remedy the situation.

The hepatitis A outbreak has left 15 homeless people dead and hospitalized almost 300 others. The county also installed 40 hand-washing stations in areas where homeless people tend to gather.

Free Hepatitis A vaccination is available at the San Diego Central Library on September 19 from 2 p.m.to 5 p.m.

A lack of adequate access to restrooms, showers and hand-washing stations is believed to have contributed to the spread.

The outbreak, which has left hundreds of people affected since last November, has primarily affected the city's homeless population and/or illicit drug users, but some cases have been neither, according to a statement from the Health and Human Services Agency.

"This is a pro-active recommendation because the ongoing outbreak means that the risk to the general public is higher than normal", Wilma Wooten, MD, MPH, county public health officer stated in recent news release. "In an occupation such as handling food, workers may expose more members of the public than workers in other occupations".

This is critical, as our downtown area is famed for some awesome restaurants.



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