As of Aug. 25, an outbreak of hepatitis A in San Diego County, Calif., has claimed 14 lives and hospitalized 264 people among the reported 352 cases, and the county health department was gearing up to increase vaccination against HAV.
Approximately 70% of the cases occurred among homeless people and/or illicit drug users, according to Tom Christenson, at the County of San Diego Communications Office. The county has been increasing efforts to vaccinate these target populations as well as people who come in contact with them.
In addition, food handlers should be vaccinated, the health department said. “This is a proactive recommendation because the ongoing outbreak means that the risk to the general public is higher than normal,” said Wilma Wooten, MD, MPH, a county public health officer. “A person who becomes infected with hepatitis A may spread the disease to others before experiencing symptoms. In an occupation such as handling food, workers may expose more members of the public than workers in other occupations.”
Source: Infectious Disease Special Edition.