San Diego

MTS Ups Cleaning Strategy Due to Hepatitis A Outbreak

The Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) is using more powerful cleaning solutions on its trolleys and buses due to the Hepatitis A outbreak, according to a representative.

The Hepatitis A outbreak began among the homeless population but is spreading to other members of the community.

In San Diego, 421 cases Hepatitis A have been reported, with the majority of cases affecting the homeless, according to the San Diego Health and Human Services Agency.

The virus can be life-threatening in some cases. Once a surface is contaminated the virus can linger there for months. Doctors recommend washing hands regularly, especially after visiting public spaces like parks, restrooms or using public transportation.

MTS vehicles were already being sanitized nightly, and deep cleaned on a monthly or quarterly basis, according to MTS spokesman Mark Olson. But now, bleach solutions are being used to disinfect.

"We’ve been in close communication with the County Health and Human Services Agency on this, and they provided some recommendations to strengthen some solutions that are being used, so we’re following the recommendations of the county," said Olson.

MTS said it also cleans and power washes transit centers and stations. The more popular locations, like San Ysidro, Imperial and Old Town, are power washed on a more regular basis.

"We do a good job of cleaning our stations," said Olson. "If a bus or trolley is going to be in service the next day it will be cleaned that night, people can be sure of that."

MTS said its systems are very clean, but people should also be diligent and take it upon themselves to live in a sanitary environment.

The county issued recommendations on how to keep from contracting the virus during the outbreak.

Symptoms of Hepatitis A may not be immediately obvious, but some include abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, yellowing of skin and eyes, dark urine and light stool.

For more information visit the San Diego County Health and Human Services website.

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