LA County declares local hepatitis A outbreak — 4 cases possibly linked to San Diego outbreak

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health officially declared an outbreak of hepatitis A Tuesday after discovering recently identified infections were likely contracted locally.

Officials confirmed 10 cases of hepatitis A in the county among individuals who are either homeless or living in institutions that serve the homeless. Four of the infected individuals recently went to San Diego County and another infected party recently visited Santa Cruz County. Both counties have ongoing hepatitis A outbreaks with 69 cases reported in Santa Cruz and 444 cases reported in San Diego.

"Public Health has been proactively preparing for an outbreak for some time and is working diligently to prevent spread in local communities," said Jeffrey Gunzenhauser, MD, the interim health officer for Los Angeles County. "Our priorities are to keep all our residents both safe and well informed of the situation. Vaccination is the best protection against hepatitis A. With this in mind, our outreach teams and clinics are offering free vaccine to persons who are homeless, active drug users and those who provide services and support to those individuals."

Hepatitis A is a highly transmissible viral infection. Symptoms include abdominal pain, low-grade fever, nausea, fatigue and jaundice. The virus is most often spread via contact with fecal matter from an infected individual, which can contaminate food and water.

To learn more about hepatitis A, click here

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