San Diego To Wash Its Streets In Fight Against Hepatitis A Outbreak

Homeless Areas To Be Washed With Bleach-Spiked Water To Combat Hepatitis A Outbreak
15 dead in hepatitis outbreak as San Diego starts street washing
Author

13 September, 2017

In total, the city has provided vaccinations to approximately 19,000 people.

County officials, meanwhile, are continuing a program of vaccinations, which are considered to be the best way to prevent hepatitis A. The disease is spread by contact with microscopic amounts of infected feces and via sexual transmission.

So far, 15 people have died and 300 have been hospitalized in relation to the public health crisis.

On Wednesday, a proposal to declare an emergency in San Diego over the outbreak and a lack of shelter space 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 past year.

The city responded to a letter sent by San Diego County Thursday, asking the city to move forward with a list of specific sanitation actions created to help control the spread of the disease, which has killed 15 people and hospitalized almost 300, many of them homeless and living on streets without adequate access to restrooms or showers.

Meanwhile, a report on current efforts to prevent a Hepatitis A outbreak in Los Angeles County is expected to be submitted within the next week after the virus was identified in a food handler in Lancaster on September 1.

The high-pressure power washing system using bleach will hopefully remove "all feces, blood, bodily fluids, or contaminated surfaces", according to a sanitation plan included in a letter delivered to San Diego city officials, the Associated Press reported.

San Diego County ordered the city to begin a specific sanitation plan to combat the spread of the disease.

In addition to the request to wash streets, 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", the Los Angeles Times reported.

About 40 portable hand-washing stations are being installed in areas with concentrations of homeless, the Associated Press reports.

"This is a proactive recommendation because the ongoing outbreak means that the risk to the general public is higher than normal", Dr. Wilma Wooten, county public health officer, said. "In an occupation such as handling food, workers may expose more members of the public than workers in other occupations".

No common sources of food, beverage or drugs have been identified that have contributed to his outbreak, although the investigation continues.


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