San Diego County hepatitis A outbreak now at 18 deaths

The San Diego County Health and Human Service Agency on Tuesday increased the death toll in the county's ongoing hepatitis A outbreak to 18, marking one additional death since the agency's update last week.

County health officials also increased the outbreak case count to 490, marking a nine-case increase. The number of hospitalizations related to the outbreak increased by five to 342. Agency officials have been investigating the outbreak, which has primarily affected the county's homeless and illicit drug user populations, since early 2017.

Wilma Wooten, MD, the San Diego County's public health officer and director of public health services, signed an emergency declaration Sept. 1, deeming the outbreak an official public health emergency. Dr. Wooten on Tuesday urged the county Board of Supervisors to renew the declaration for two more weeks, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune.

County and local health providers have administered 68,500 hepatitis A vaccination doses to help curb the outbreak, according to the publication.

Symptoms of hepatitis A infection 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.

To learn more about hepatitis A, click here.

More articles on infection control: 
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