18 Die From Hepatitis A in San Diego’s Outbreak

The San Diego County Health and Human Services updated the number of people infected with the Hepatitis A virus Tuesday.

Eighteen people have died and 490 cases have been confirmed as of Oct. 10, according to county officials. Of those cases, there have been 342 hospitalizations. 

A third of the cases involved people who used illicit drugs and are considered homeless. Of the cases, 25 percent are neither homeless or drug users.

Officials said 22,406 were given by health care systems or pharmacists but 15,662 vaccines were given by county staff in the field, in jails or detention centers or the county psychiatric hospital.

The City of San Diego has installed new bathrooms in the East Village to help curb the spread of the virus. That area has a high concentration of transients. 

Those restroom facilities will be maintained at least twice a day, and will be monitored by full-time security, the city said. 

There are currently 22 public restroom facilities in downtown San Diego, as listed here

City crews have also sanitized sidewalks in the downtown area and installed hand-washing stations.

County health officials have also notified 14,000 food facilities in the area as well as agricultural growers and public pools. 

Hepatitis A is a liver infection caused by a virus that is highly contagious. The Hepatitis A virus can be contracted by touching objects or eating food that someone with the Hepatitis A infection has handled or by having sex with someone who has an HAV infection.

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Some people get the virus but have no symptoms. Signs of infection include fever, fatigue, nausea, loss of appetite, yellowing of the eyes (jaundice), stomach pain, vomiting, dark urine, pale stools, and diarrhea. Adults are more likely to have symptoms than children.

The California Department of Public Health suggests anyone who has been exposed to the virus, and who has not been previously immunized for Hepatitis A, should consider getting vaccinated no later than two weeks after exposure.

For more information, go to the San Diego County Hepatitis A Outbreak website. 

Published 12 minutes ago | Updated 2 minutes ago

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