County Moves to Address Hepatitis A Outbreak

Tuesday, September 19, 2017 | 8:44 pm

On a motion by Supervisor Kathryn Barger, unanimously approved by the Board of Supervisors, the Department of Public Health will begin implementation of a Hepatitis A prevention and response action plan as part of a greater effort to avert a Hepatitis A outbreak similar to what has occurred in San Diego County.

In a report before the Board today, the Department of Public Health confirmed three cases of Hepatitis A occurring in persons who acquired the infection in San Diego. Following the first two cases, a Health Advisory was issued through the Los Angeles Health Alert Network (LAHAN) describing the situation and providing prevention strategies.

“It is critical that the County and the Department of Public Health work proactively to educate the public about prevention and prepare for a potential outbreak,” Supervisor Barger stated. “In addition to the vital public health concerns, this situation highlights the continued need to provide stable housing for the homeless who are at the highest risk of contracting Hepatitis A.”

Barger further requested that the Department engage food truck commissaries and street based food vendors as part of this effort and list on its website the pharmacies that offer vaccinations.

A viral infection of the liver, Hepatitis A is transmitted by close personal and fecal exposure, often through food or water. Outbreaks have occurred when a food handler who has poor hygiene contaminates food. Currently, a Hepatitis A outbreak is ongoing in San Diego County and Santa Cruz, with most cases occurring among homeless and drug using populations. The virus was also identified in a case involving a food handler in Lancaster and outreach is ongoing to inform patrons of the need to be vaccinated. Following exposure, vaccination or immunoglobulin given within two weeks prevents illness.

 

 

 

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

GOT A QUESTION? NEED INFORMATION? HAVE A TIP OR STORY IDEA? To Contact our Research Desk, Click