Measures Put in Place to Combat Hepatitis A in California

18 people have died in San Diego, California as a result of the outbreak of Hepatitis A. The outbreak has resulted to the California governor Jerry Brown to declare a state of emergency. He went ahead to reveal that vaccines provided by the federal government were not sufficient. By declaring a state of emergency, the state government can now acquire the vaccines from the manufactures directly and distribute them immediately. According to Gil Chavez, an epidemiologist in the Californian Department of Public Health, the vaccines will be ordered on Monday or Tuesday and hence allow people to have access to the vaccine soon after. The move will help the department move with a lot of haste.

To prevent further deaths and the risk of exposing more people to hepatitis A, Karen Smith, the director of Public Health in California says that vaccination is most effective. So far, this is the most extensive transmission of hepatitis A from person to person to be recorded in the United States since the vaccine was made available about two decades ago. Most of the time, the disease is transmitted once a person consumes food that is contaminated. Of the affected people, the greater percentage is people who are homeless, those who abuse drugs or both. The total number of individuals infected stands at 576. 490 of this are from San Diego County, 71 from Santa Cruz County, while eight are from Los Angeles County. San Diego is indeed the most affected area with 342 people being hospitalized, as compared to the 386 people hospitalized in the entire California. 33 people from Santa Cruz are in the hospital while only six are hospitalized in Los Angeles.

A call to give emergency funding to stop the spread of the disease quickly was made to the federal government by Darrell Issa. He went ahead to reveal that the total number of people infected is already three times the cases that were reported in 2015. The first case of Hepatitis A to be reported in San Diego (that has many homeless people) was reported early March this year. It would later declare a local health emergency in September. Contaminated food is the most common mode of transmitting Hepatitis A. The cause of the outbreak in California is however as a result of straits of the 1B genetic type that is common in South Africa. Besides Vaccination, calls to wash hands have been made. Numerous hand washing stations have been created to this effects.


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