San Diego

Possible Good News in San Diego County's Deadly Hepatitis A Outbreak

A San Diego County Public Health Officer says the rate of the deadly Hepatitis A outbreak may be slowing down.

"We have seen a leveling off of the number of cases. We need several more weeks. Maybe even another month before we can definitively say," said Dr. Wilma Wooten.

Wooten spoke Tuesday night at the Chula Vista City Council meeting, calming concerns that the virus may have come from the Tijuana River or any other location.

She noted that the Hepatitis A strain in San Diego is different from the one seen in Mexico.

Wooten also updated officials on the number of cases of Hepatitis A, mostly affecting the homeless population. Countywide there have been 490 cases since November 2016--18 of them now deadly.

Chula Vista's been tackling the health concern since June of this year, educating people by posting bilingual signs in park bathrooms.

Bathrooms are now cleaned with a chlorine solution and the police HOT (Homeless Outreach Team) and county nurses have teamed up for mobile drives.

Chula Vista city officials said during eight mobile drives, 175 Hepatitis A vaccines have been given at area parks.

Kim Ball is one of the people who received a vaccine. She calls Memorial Park home.

It’s one of the 14 parks where watering stations have been installed since park bathrooms close at night.

"I think it’s great. I think it’s great," Ball repeated with elation. "It allows people to wash and sanitize their hand so they’re not spreading this."

The county has spent $3 million fighting the outbreak so far and it expects to spend $1.5 million per month until the outbreak is over.

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