San Diego has been struck with a large Hepatitis A problem that doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon.
With the numbers of those affected growing, city leaders gathered Tuesday morning to ask the public for more help in getting control of the outbreak. The outbreak originally started in March, but after the last few months with no sign of the epidemic slowing, officials no sign of an immediate end for the infection.
“Frankly, this outbreak could last for at least another six months, and unfortunately there are going to be more lives that are going to be at risk,” Dr. Nick Yphantides, the county’s chief medical officer, said at a news conference in front of the County Administration Center.
Officials also announced Tuesday that 22,966 people have received the hepatitis A vaccines through clinic events and foot teams working with the large homeless population in San Diego County.
According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, the outbreak is currently hitting the San Diego homeless population the hardest. The total number of confirmed cases linked to the outbreak rose from 421 to 444 as of last week. The number of people hospitalized due to “infections from the specific strains associated with the outbreak” hit over 300 this week.
Dr. Wilma Wooten, the Director of Public Health Services for San Diego County’s Health and Human Services Agency, claims that the current Hepatitis A outbreak is “the largest public health challenge the county has seen in the 16 years that she has worked there.
“We certainly will see more cases and more deaths,” Wooten said.
There are more than 40 suspected cases currently under investigation.
The Los Angeles Acute Communicable Disease Control team told the Huffington Post that, while Los Angeles doesn’t currently have an outbreak, officials will be kept on their toes.1