A fourth person has died as a result of a hepatitis A outbreak in San Diego County, the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) said Monday.
Since the outbreak, 120 people have been hospitalized, and there have been 160 total cases of the virus in the county.
According to the HHSA, the outbreak has not been linked to a common food, drink or drug source.
But many of the individuals who became sick from the virus are homeless and/or used illegal drugs.
There were 12 reported cases of the virus in county detention facilities. The following is a list of possible exposures.
-George Bailey Detention Facility:
- Area 1A: from April 10 to April 24
- Area 2A: from May 17 to June 5
- Area 3A: on April 24
- Area 3C: from April 24 to May 1, on May 5, and from May 15 to May 18
-San Diego Central Jail
- Area 4A: from May 8 to May 10
- Area 7B: from April 24 to May 26
- Area 8C: from April 24 to May 7
-East Mesa Detention Facility from May 6 to May 8
Anyone who may have been exposed to the virus can develop symptoms up to 50 days after the exposure.
“We strongly encourage people who are at risk to check with their healthcare providers and get vaccinated for hepatitis A,” said public health officer Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H.
The virus can be prevented if a vaccine is received within two weeks of the exposure, according to the HHSA.
Those most at risk for getting hepatitis A are those in the homeless community, illegal drug users, and people with chronic liver diseases.
The vaccine is also recommended for anyone who frequently works with homeless people and/or illegal drug users.
Hepatitis A can also be spread by having sexual contact or sharing drugs with someone who is infected.
Symptoms of Hepatitis A include jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, and light-colored stools.
Hepatitis A can sometimes cause liver failure and even death.