City Council Committee Considers Emergency Declaration Over Hepatitis A Outbreak

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These recommend people, especially those at a higher risk, to get vaccinated.

The county declared a local public health emergency on September 1, enhancing an ongoing vaccination campaign with the installation of hand-washing stations in locations where homeless residents, who have been hit hardest by the outbreak, gather.

Since the outbreak began, San Diego's Health & Human Services Agency has confirmed a staggering 398 cases; about 70% of those infected have been hospitalized. That essentially means that the new victim is usually an unvaccinated person who ingests food or water, touches an object, or uses drugs contaminated with fecal matter from an infected person.

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer is expected to make a "major announcement" Wednesday morning regarding the city of San Diego's ongoing homelessness issue - hours before a proposal to declare an emergency in the city over a deadly outbreak of hepatitis A is scheduled to go before the City Council's Select Committee on Homelessness. The inland North County area also saw a spike, with 11 percent more homeless than a year ago.

Councilwoman Lorie Zapf made her comments on the same day that city crews began washing down streets and sidewalks in an effort to control the disease.

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Workers will be power washing the downtown streets of San Diego with a bleach-based substance.

Health officials in San Diego County said the disease is spreading "through contact with a fecally contaminated environment". The county will soon expand its efforts to other cities in the region, where the outbreak has now produced almost 400 confirmed cases.

In an attempt to take quick action last week, San Diego County moved forward with its own contractor, who installed 40 hand-washing stations in areas with large gatherings of homeless people. Their letter asked authorities to regularly pressure-wash dirty right-of-way roads with chlorinated water, and gave them five business days to enact policy to remedy the situation.

The county, meanwhile, has been providing vaccinations to thousands of San Diegans, with 7,300 given to people considered to be at-risk of contracting the disease, which attacks the liver. Now, public health officials are requesting that food handlers obtain vaccinations (if they aren't already vaccinated). "No common sources of food, beverage or drugs have been identified that have contributed to this outbreak, though investigation is ongoing", the statement says. The goal is to encourage more people to wash their hands and stop the spread of the disease.

This is critical, as our downtown area is famed for some incredible restaurants.