Hepatitis A Outbreak in LA County

Hepatitis A Outbreak

Officials from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health have declared an outbreak of the hepatitis A virus after 10 confirmed cases have been spotted in the area's homeless population.

According to abc7, this declaration came after the most recent of these cases appeared in the area. Among the ten reported cases, four of them belong to people who had recently visited San Diego and Santa Cruz, with three others being spotted in a Los Angeles health facility, at least two of the three having been contracted locally.

The main transmission method for hepatitis A is via feces. Those who come in contact with it often due so through poor hygiene practices, with infected individuals leaving traces of fecal matter in food or on objects they touch. Due to the lack of availability of sanitary aid and cleanliness, this makes the homeless population of the county much more vulnerable than others.

Additionally, hepatitis can be transmitted through sexual contact, sharing needles, and by ingesting contaminated food and drink. People should take precautions against the spread of infection if they are in a position to spread it.

According to an official, the department has seemingly expected such an outbreak to occur for some time now. "Public Health has been proactively preparing for an outbreak for some time and is working diligently to prevent spread in local communities," said Interim Health Officer for Los Angeles County, Jeffrey Gunzenhauser, MD, MPH. "Our priorities are to keep all our residents both safe and well informed of the situation."

When asked what people can do to protect themselves against the virus, Gunzenhauser responded, "Vaccination is the best protection against Hepatitis A. With this in mind, our outreach teams and clinics are offering free vaccines to persons who are homeless, active drug users, and those who provide services and support to those individuals."