San Diego washes city streets with bleach amid hepatitis A outbreak

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San Diego city workers are washing the city's downtown streets with bleach this week in an effort to control a deadly outbreak of hepatitis A, according a report from NPR.

Since the outbreak began in November 2016, the County of San Diego's Health and Human Services Agency has tallied 421 cases, 292 hospitalizations and 16 deaths. The outbreak has had an outsized effect on the county's homeless and illicit drug using populations.

Mike Saag, MD, a professor and infectious disease expert with the University of Alabama at Birmingham, described San Diego's street-washing approach as reasonable, according to NPR.

"If there's a sanitation problem, then the thing to do is clean up the area, and bleach is probably the best disinfectant that we have for this type of viral infection," Dr. Saag told NPR.

Hepatitis A is a highly contagious 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

More articles on infection control: 
E coli bacteria shapeshifts in space to resist antibiotics, study finds 
4 patients infected with hep C due to New York physician's alleged poor infection control practices 
Death toll increases to 16 in San Diego County hepatitis A outbreak

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