Hepatitis A Outbreak in LA County

Rodiano Bonacci
Settembre 21, 2017

Outbreaks of hepatitis A disease are now ongoing in two California counties (San Diego County and Santa Cruz County) in persons who are homeless and/or using illicit drugs.

Similar outbreaks have been announced in San Diego and Santa Cruz counties.

Public Health has confirmed 10 cases of hepatitis A among high-risk individuals (those that are homeless or in institutions that serve the homeless) in L.A. County. "As of this morning, we've confirmed that we have two community acquired cases". Reports state that Los Angeles County has registered two "community-acquired" Hepatitis A cases which can not be traced back to Santa Cruz or San Diego, health officials on Tuesday said. However, the country director of public health, in a news conference, said that the cases also include those working with those patients at a health care faculty. "Our priorities are to keep all our residents both safe and well informed of the situation".

Reportedly, those who have been infected by the virus were either homeless or using illicit drugs.

The main transmission method for hepatitis A is via feces. The hepatitis A virus also can be spread when a person does not properly wash his or her hands after going to the bathroom or changing diapers.

Additionally, hepatitis can be transmitted through sexual contact, sharing needles, and by ingesting contaminated food and drink. People who are homeless are at higher risk because they face challenges to maintaining good hygiene.

Doctors are required to report hepatitis cases to Public Health. Hepatitis A can sometimes cause liver failure and death, although this is rare and occurs more commonly in persons 50 years of age or older and persons with other liver diseases, such as hepatitis B or C. If symptoms do develop, they may include: fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, joint pain, and jaundice (a yellowing of the skin or eyes). Symptoms generally last for less than two months, although some persons may have prolonged or more severe illness.

Get the hepatitis A vaccine.

Public health centers countywide administer Hepatitis A vaccinations at low or no cost on a sliding scale.

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