*San Diego has been scorched by a Hepatitis outbreak of epic proportions. Since November 2016, 421 persons in the southern California city have been infected, and 16 of them have died. This preventable disease, spread by fecal contamination, can easily be contracted. The touch of a door handle (or push of an elevator button) by an infected person who didn’t wash their hands after using the restroom — then heads to the cafeteria, and there you go.
This is all it takes for such a disease to become a larger public health crisis.
According to a Huffington Post report following an interview with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, San Diego’s huge homeless population has a lot to do with the outbreak.
Not to be confused with it being their fault, the report quotes activists and public health officials who say, San Diego could have avoided its hepatitis A crisis — or at least ensured it didn’t get this bad — if its homeless residents had better access to housing and the city provided the services they need to stay healthy.
The article goes on to state: The problem isn’t limited to San Diego County, which has the fourth-largest homeless population in the U.S. Detroit, Salt Lake City, Santa Cruz, California, and areas of Colorado are also dealing with hepatitis A outbreaks. The Los Angeles Acute Communicable Disease Control team told HuffPost that, while L.A. doesn’t currently have an outbreak, officials are on the lookout.
The CDC says the sleeping giant aka Hepatitis A had been in deep slumber after a vaccine was approved in the U.S. in 1995. Significant drops in the infected rates were reported as late as 2015 — showing the lowest rates in 40 years. Such numbers make recent infections stand out like a sore thumb.
From August 2016 to this June, Detroit had recorded 10 deaths and 190 cases of hepatitis A in the city and surrounding counties, 10 times the usual rate of infection. Santa Cruz, California, recorded 69 cases as of Sept. 12,when the city usually has just one or two cases a year. As of May, Colorado reported 26 hepatitis A cases, more than the state typically sees in a year. And the Salt Lake County Health Department reported about 20 cases, when it would normally see about two by this time of year.
Word to the wise: Wash those hands frequently. Carry a handkerchief or even a paper towel with you when in public situations opening doors. Shake a person’s hand, wash your hand afterwards. This may sound extreme, but times show extreme is necessary for your health.
Better safe now than sorry later.
Watch the video report directly below and read more at Huffington Post.