San Diego

San Diego County Extends Local Hepatitis A Health Emergency

San Diego County officials are expanding some efforts in certain communities to stop the current Hepatitis A outbreak from spreading into other populations.

The County Board of Supervisors voted Monday to extend the local health emergency for an additional two weeks. Officials first issued the local health emergency on Sept. 14 following an outbreak of Hepatitis A cases. 

Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County Public Health Officer, told the board that her staff is seeing an overall downward trend in the number of cases.

Since the beginning of the outbreak in November 2016, there have been 20 deaths. More than 560 cases have been reported and 378 people have been hospitalized due to the outbreak. 

There have been 10 cases or fewer reported each week for the past eight weeks, county officials said.

In December, the county is issuing food safety guidelines to the faith-based community so as to not disrupt any holiday food distribution events. 

Health officials say men who have sex with men should get a Hepatitis A vaccine.

County health officials are also offering four mobile van clinics in Hillcrest during the first two weeks of December and four vaccination clinics at the LGBT Center. 

Other groups that should get vaccinated include illegal drug users, people with chronic liver disease, travelers to certain countries, people with clotting disorders, homeless people, people who work closely with the homeless and food handlers, according to the county.

San Diego County Health and Human Services officials said Hepatitis A is usually spread through the fecal-oral route from person to person. They said symptoms include jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal park, dark urine and light-colored stools.

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