California combats deadly hepatitis A outbreak

Last week, California governor Jerry Brown declared a statewide state of emergency, in an attempt to stop the spread of the virus. The proclamation permits CDPH to expedite the procurement of the hepatitis A vaccine. This kind of also allows EMTs to administer the vaccine, outside of a clinical setting, to high-risk individuals — which include the homeless along with illicit drug users.
“Vaccinating people at risk of exposure will be the most effective tool we have to prevent the spread of hepatitis A infection during an outbreak,” said CDPH director Dr. Karen Smith, in a written statement.

San Diego, Santa Cruz along with Los Angeles counties have officially declared local outbreaks, however CDPH said outbreak-associated cases have been confirmed in additional parts of the state, as well. The agency said This kind of has already distributed more than 80,000 doses of the hepatitis A vaccine.

San Diego County tackles hepatitis A after outbreak kills 16
“We have what will be a pretty unprecedented outbreak, based on the number of cases we have so far,” CDPH deputy director for infectious diseases, Dr. Gil Chávez, told sy88pgw. “Dating back to March, we have been taking This kind of extremely seriously along with have been working very closely with officials through the affected counties, as well as officials through the CDC.”
The answer to the question, “Why at This kind of point?” remains elusive. Somehow, the highly contagious liver infection hepatitis A was introduced into the homeless community. Poor hygiene along with lack of access to clean bathrooms exacerbate the risk of contracting the virus. According to the CDC, person-to-person transmission via the “fecal-oral route” — “ingestion of something that will has been contaminated with the feces of an infected person” — will be the most common way the virus spreads. This kind of can also be transmitted through contaminated food or water.

Typically, fewer than 3,000 cases of hepatitis A are reported each year inside United States, according to the CDC. Many adults who become infected will exhibit symptoms after about a month of being exposed to the virus. Symptoms can include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting along with abdominal pain, along with usually last less than two months. The majority of children who become infected will not exhibit any symptoms at all.

“One of the things that will we’ve learned since March will be that will a lot of the usual ways to vaccinate communities don’t work very well with (the homeless) community,” Chávez said. “You cannot just say, ‘We’re holding a vaccination clinic at a certain place’ along with expect that will people are going to show up.”

Chávez said CDPH has been working closely with local health departments to get creative with homeless outreach.

Homeless outreach in San Diego

“We have created ways in which we send teams of people — a nurse that has a community worker — into the field, literally walking down riverbeds, embankments, going down under freeways along with talking to people along with asking them to be vaccinated,” Chávez said. “This kind of community tends to have a distrust of government along with (doesn’t want) to talk to you if you’re a government official. … Over time, we’ve come to realize that will we’re creating inroads along with that will more along with more homeless individuals are agreeing to be vaccinated than when we first started out.”

Local health departments in California act independently, Chávez said, so each municipality will be dealing with the outbreak differently. In San Diego, the hardest hit county, there has been a coordinated effort to enhance access to clean bathrooms. San Diego Public Health Services has also installed temporary sanitation stations throughout the city, particularly in areas with high homeless populations, along with will be washing city streets to reduce the amount of the virus in neighborhoods.
Temporary sanitation stations are set up in downtown San Diego

“One thing that will will be very interesting about the hepatitis A virus will be that will This kind of actually survives inside environment for a long time, so unless you wash This kind of away, This kind of can linger for weeks,” Chávez said. “The more we can provide access to sanitation, the more that will we can clean regularly along with disinfect, the quicker we can get a handle on This kind of.”

The majority of adults in California have not been inoculated, as the state only began recommending routine vaccination for children in 1999. The hepatitis A vaccine will be more than 95% effective after a first dose along with almost 100% effective after the second recommended dose. Once someone has recovered through the disease, they are immune to getting This kind of again.

“If you dissect the outbreak into the two main counties — Santa Cruz along with San Diego — we can say comfortably that will Santa Cruz has certainly turned the tide along with they are on a downward trend,” Chávez said. “In San Diego, we’ve been watching very closely along with for the past several weeks, the number of weekly cases has been pretty stable, which will be not bad news.”

Chávez said he wants Californians to know that will This kind of outbreak, while serious, will be not a widespread problem.

“This kind of’s definitely focused on a specific part of the state, in a very specific community,” he said. “For the general population of the state, there will be no increased risk, so people don’t need to worry.”

California combats deadly hepatitis A outbreak

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