Tuesday, September 26, 2017

California Scrambles To Contain ‘Unprecedented’ Hepatitis A Outbreaks

California Scrambles To Contain ‘Unprecedented’ Hepatitis A Outbreaks
By Stephanie O'Neill September 26, 2017

Health officials in California are struggling to contain fierce outbreaks of hepatitis A among homeless people and drug abusers in three counties, including San Diego, where at least 17 people have died.

Hundreds more have become ill and been hospitalized, mostly in the San Diego area, often not far from tourist destinations. The disease also has cropped up farther north in Los Angeles and Santa Cruz counties. Poor access to restrooms and sinks in homeless encampments is largely to blame.

Public health officials say the crisis has caught them off guard because it’s rare for the disease to spread so rampantly when it isn’t tied to a common source, such as a tainted food product. Meanwhile, as cases mount with no end in sight, critics fault authorities’ response as lethargic.

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