County Health Alert: Hepatitis A
Announcement from Public Health Services Division
Public Health Services Division, in the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency, is currently investigating a large outbreak of Hepatitis A. This disease is a highly contagious liver infection that is spread when a person ingests food or water that has been contaminated by the feces of an infected person (i.e., touching objects or eating food or water that has been contaminated by the feces of an infected person (i.e. touching objects or eating food that someone with Hepatitis A handled). Currently over 300 cases and 10 deaths have been reported since late November 2016, with most cases occurring since March 2017. This is significantly higher than the one or two cases per month typically reported, and we are requesting the help of our partners to effectively reach these at risk populations.
The majority of persons impacted in this outbreak have been homeless and/or persons using illicit drugs. Hepatitis A is usually transmitted when an infected person has not washed her/his hands after using the bathroom or before preparing and eating food. We are reaching out to all of our contractors, many of whom may be serving homeless and/or illicit drug users, to help us emphasize the need for HAV vaccination and adequate hygiene to this vulnerable population.
Please also take time to visit the county’s Hepatitis A website where you will find updated information regarding the Hepatitis A Outbreak, Hep A Fact Sheets in five different languages: English, Spanish, Chinese, Arabic, and Vietnamese and other information. Also, here is the most recent Hepatitis A press release, Hep A FAQs, CAHAN, Hep A Infection prevention & control handout and video of Hep A education while walking with a homeless man in downtown San Diego, Tony learns about the Hepatitis A outbreak in San Diego. Again, if you are interested in having someone from the county give an educational presentation on Hepatitis A to your staff and/or other organizations, please let us know.
For more information, contact the Epidemiology Program at 619-692-8499 or send us an e-mail.