In order to combat the disease, the southern California city of San Diego has literally begun spraying the streets with bleach.
An article by NPR said that the Hepatitis A was first identified in the area in early March, according to the county, and declared a public health emergency earlier this month. Nearly 400 people have been infected with the disease.
The majority of those sickened by this viral infection outbreak have been homeless people. A letter from San Diego County health officials stated that hepatitis A is being spread through contact with a “fecally contaminated environment” as well as person-to-person transmission. A big part of the problem is an apparent lack of public restrooms in areas where the homeless population congregates.
Hepatitis A is a highly contagious viral infection, which can prove fatal. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the virus attacks the liver. Adequate personal hygiene and sanitation can help prevent the spread of the virus.
But, as we pointed out earlier this week, the hepatitis A outbreak that started in San Diego is now on the verge of reaching statewide epidemic status, as cases have spread through homeless tent cities all the way north to Sacramento.
At least 569 people have been infected and 17 have died of the virus since November in San Diego, Santa Cruz and Los Angeles counties, where local outbreaks have been declared.
Dr. Monique Foster, a medical epidemiologist with the Division of Viral Hepatitis at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told reporters Thursday that California’s outbreak could linger even with the right prevention efforts.
“It’s not unusual for them to last quite some time — usually over a year, one to two years,” Foster said.
California’s outbreak of hepatitis A could continue for many months, even years, health officials said Thursday.
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