Hepatitis A Infection Slows; 7 New Cases Reported this Week

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County health workers give Hepatitis A shots at clinics and libraries. Photo by Chris Stone

A weekly update on an outbreak of hepatitis A in the San Diego region included seven new cases, as the rate of infections continued to slow.

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The county Health and Human Services Agency reported a total of 553 cases related to the outbreak have been reported as of last Wednesday. The previous update listed 546 cases.

Of those sickened by the disease, which attacks the liver, 20 have died, but none recently.

Both the city of San Diego and county of San Diego have declared local emergencies regarding the outbreak, which originated about one year ago.

The county Board of Supervisors Tuesday scheduled a special meeting for Monday to extend the declaration, which needs to be renewed every two weeks. The board’s next regular meeting isn’t until Dec. 5.

In a recent report to the supervisors, Dr. Eric McDonald, the county’s deputy public health officer, said it appeared that “we are past the peak of cases and things are improving.”

Hepatitis A is usually transmitted by touching objects or eating food that someone with the virus has handled or by having sex with an infected person. The disease doesn’t always cause symptoms, but for those who do, they could experience fever, fatigue, nausea, loss of appetite, yellowing of the eyes, stomach pain, vomiting, dark urine, pale stools and diarrhea, according to the HHSA.

The county and city governments have taken several steps to address the outbreak, including the spraying of a sanitizing formula on streets and sidewalks, the placement of portable hand-washing stations and restrooms in areas where the homeless congregate, and a stepped-up immunization campaign.

City News Service

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