City steps up fight against deadly hepatitis A outbreak

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SAN DIEGO – The City and County of San Diego have teamed up to fight a deadly outbreak of hepatitis A.

The local outbreak has claimed 15 lives and has infected more than 350 others. The illness has hit the homeless population particularly hard.

On Friday, the county declared a local health emergency to help fund the installation of handwashing stations across the city. The 40 locations include Balboa Park, Ocean Beach, Horton Plaza, City Heights, Chicano Park and the central library.

The declaration will also help county health workers and volunteers to continue to provide free vaccinations against the virus, which is spread by person-to-person contact and poor sanitation. So far, around 19,000 people have been vaccinated.

The sanitation precautions are modeled after similar programs in other southern California cities – including Los Angeles – that have proven to be highly effective.

“The City continues to stand ready to support the County’s Health and Human Services Agency in its plans to provide vaccinations, sanitation and education to San Diegans as we battle this outbreak,” Mayor Faulconer said. “We must continue to work collaboratively to stop this crisis and save lives.”

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