LA officials open 'Skid Row' hygiene facility amid hepatitis A outbreak

Los Angeles officials on Monday opened a hygiene center in a section of downtown known as "Skid Row" where roughly 1,800 homeless people sleep to help control California's ongoing hepatitis A outbreak, according to NBC4.

The hygiene center is equipped with showers and toilets to impede the spread of hepatitis A, which has had an outsized effect on the city's homeless population. 

"Access to safe, clean toilets and a hot shower are a basic human right," said Jose Huiza, a city council member, according to NBC4. "This will be more than a hygiene center. Our aim is to give the residents of Skid Row a sense of hope and dignity that better days are possible, while we also take action to protect them from the spread of hepatitis A. Today is not the end of our efforts. It is just the beginning, but it represents a critical first step."

Symptoms of hepatitis A include abdominal pain, low-grade fever, nausea, fatigue and jaundice. The virus is highly transmissible and most often spread via contact with fecal matter from an infected individual.

Health officials have tallied 11 total hepatitis A cases in Los Angeles since declaring an official outbreak in September. As of Nov. 24, the California Department of Public Health has tallied 561 cases in San Diego and 76 cases in Santa Cruz. Health officials have been investigating the San Diego outbreak since early 2017.

More articles on infection control: 
5 resources to promote national influenza vaccination week 
CDC policy boosted baby boomer hep C screening rates by nearly 50% 
Meningococcal disease, legionnaires', drug-resistant TB: 5 recent and ongoing outbreaks

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