8 dead in San Diego County hepatitis A outbreak

Health officials on July 28 confirmed three additional deaths in San Diego County's ongoing hepatitis A outbreak, bringing the total number of deaths related to the outbreak, which began in November, to eight.

County health officials also increased the total case count to 275 infections, marking a 47-case uptick since July 12. Among those infected, 194 have been hospitalized. A majority of the cases — about 70 percent — have occurred among the county's homeless population and people who use illicit drugs.

"We continue to stress that people who are at risk should get vaccinated, and people need to be vigilant about washing their hands after going to the bathroom," said Wilma Wooten, MD, public health officer and director of public health services for the county. "We are continuing to evaluate cases, but so far public health investigators have not identified any common food, drink or drug source as the contributing cause to this outbreak."

Hepatitis A is highly transmissible illness most often spread via contact with fecal matter from an infected individual. Symptoms of hepatitis A infection include abdominal pain, a low-grade fever, nausea, fatigue and jaundice. All those who died in the outbreak had underlying health conditions.

To learn more about hepatitis A, click here.

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