Health Care

San Diego hepatitis outbreak continues to grow: 481 cases

San Diego hepatitis outbreak continues to grow: 481 cases”

"Employers must take steps to prevent or reduce the spread of the hepatitis A virus", said Cal/OSHA Chief Juliann Sum in a statement.

In San Diego County, public health workers are taking to the streets to vaccinate the population of homeless people, who can be hard to find and hard to manage.

Dr. Monique Foster, a medical epidemiologist with Division of Viral Hepatitis at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told reporters Thursday that California's outbreak could linger even with the right prevention efforts. There are typically one or two hepatitis A cases in the county each year.

Because of the spread of the highly-contagious liver virus, state-run Cal/OSHA is reminding employers about preventive measures they need to protect their workers. Meanwhile, at least 569 people have been infected by the said virus and that number looks to be growing as well.

"We've been pushing for safe camping because homeless on streets and in canyons is not a solution in any neighborhood, and the communities I represent have felt that acutely", said Councilman Chris Ward, chairman of the City Council's Select Committee on Homelessness.

The county Health and Human Services Agency traced the outbreak to last November, with just under two-thirds of the victims being either homeless and/or drug users. So far, 12 people have been infected, most of whom were either in San Diego or Santa Cruz when they were exposed. Gregory Bull / AP Where next?

San Francisco's health department has also issued an advisory warning of an outbreak among men who have sex with other men. The cause is said to be related to the rise of homelessness in the state, from San Diego to Sacramento.

The San Diego County Regional Water Quality Board has collected reports on water pollution from cities and municipalities around the county since 2001.

All 17 people who have died in the San Diego outbreak had underlying health conditions, including 16 who had liver problems. "We have a lot of obstacles in keeping it a very sanitary place for our clients".

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