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Hepatitis A Outbreak in California Prompts Governor to Declare a State of Emergency

You might remember this space passed along news a few weeks ago about a hepatitis A outbreak in San Diego, one significant enough that authorities were moved to try disinfecting the sidewalks.

Well, things seem to be getting even worse in the land where everything goes.

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This past Friday, Governor Jerry Brown was force to declare a state of emergency because of the problem, according to the San Diego Union Tribune:

“The declaration allows state health officials to buy additional doses of the hepatitis A vaccine to try to halt the outbreak, which is already the nation’s second largest in more than two decades.”

Later, the article goes on to say:

“The outbreak began in San Diego’s homeless community late last year, but has since spread outside the region. Los Angeles and Santa Cruz counties are also now experiencing outbreaks.

“So far, 581 people in California have been sickened with the liver virus, more than half of whom have ended up in the hospital. The virus is particularly dangerous, and can be fatal, for people who already have other liver diseases, such as hepatitis B or C.

“Federal health officials said last week that, even with the ongoing efforts to slow the spread of the disease, California’s outbreak could last years.”

It is believed the hepatitis A virus in this case is being transmitted from person to person, although under less unusual circumstances, it’s spread by way of eating contaminated food.

Hepatitis A is virulent and very dangerous. Although California has thrown a bunch of “Band-Aid” type solutions at the problem, like installing hand-washing stations and engaging in the aforementioned practice of street sanitization, none are working. The politically uncomfortable truth is that without getting a much better handle on the problem of the state’s homeless and drug addicted resident populations, California is ensuring that the health and welfare of its citizens, overall, will remain far outsized by this and other, similar threats.

By Robert G. Yetman, Jr. Editor At Large

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