Death Toll Rises In San Diego Hepatitis A Outbreak

Henrietta Strickland
September 13, 2017

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer is expected to make a "major announcement" Wednesday morning regarding the city of San Diego's ongoing homelessness issue - hours before a proposal to declare an emergency in the city over a deadly outbreak of hepatitis A is scheduled to go before the City Council's Select Committee on Homelessness.

In January's annual tally of the area's transient population, 5,619 homeless individuals were counted in the city of San Diego, a 10.3 percent increase from a year ago. Doctors are also encouraging anyone who works or lives in the area to get vaccinated, NBC San Diego reports.

The move by the city to start sanitizing the streets came after San Diego County wrote a letter to the city Thursday. County health officials said 421 people became ill and 16 have died.

Presently, only the downtown streets of San Diego are getting this high-pressure power washing sanitation treatment. In an August 31 letter from the county health department, officials asked the city to move forward with the sanitation measures and gave the city five days to respond with a plan, according to the LA Times. The county will soon expand its efforts to other cities in the region, where the outbreak has now produced almost 400 confirmed cases.

Under the new measures, areas with high concentrations of homeless people are set to receive roughly 40 portable hand-washing stations to help combat the disease, which can spread through fecal matter when people fail to thoroughly clean their hands after using the restroom.

In addition to regularly pressure-washing dirty city right-of-ways with chlorinated water, the county also asked the city to "immediately expand access to public restrooms and wash stations within the city limits that are adjacent to at-risk populations".

Disinfecting streets in affected areas is one of the measures demanded by county health officials in a letter to the city.

A free hepatitis A vaccination session will take place on September 19, from 2 p.m.to 5 p.m.at the San Diego Central Library. Now, public health officials are requesting that food handlers obtain vaccinations (if they aren't already vaccinated). "In an occupation such as handling food, workers may expose more members of the public than workers in other occupations". The investigation is still ongoing, with no common source of drugs, food, or beverages have yet been identified as being a contributor to the outbreak.

This is critical, as our downtown area is famed for some unbelievable restaurants.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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