California declares state of emergency over Hepatitis A outbreak

The Governor of California, Jerry Brown, has scarcely released a statement declaring a state of emergency over the deadly hepatitis A plague that has averred 18 lives in San Diego.

The emergency proclamation will allow the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) to move swiftly and increase its supply of vaccines to be distributed for controlling the hepatitis A outburst. Currently, sources claim the supply of vaccines to be inadequate.

Reportedly, the state has distributed over 81,000 vaccine doses since the outburst of the infection, however, the supply still seems to be insufficient. Statistics reveal that there have been close to 576 cases in California, out of which 386 people have been hospitalized. San Diego County reported 490 cases with 342 hospitalizations; Santa Cruz has 71 reported cases with 33 hospitalizations; and 8 cases were reported in Los Angeles with 6 hospitalizations. No deaths have been reported so far, except in San Diego.

California has currently witnessed the largest hepatitis A outbreak in the U.S. The infection is generally transmitted through contaminated food; however California’s outbreak is spreading contagiously, predominantly among the homeless community & drug users.

For the record, the only outbreak in the past two decades in the U.S. far more serious than what California is facing currently, occurred in Pennsylvania in 2003, where over 900 people were infected after eating on stained green onions at an eatery.

The California Department of Public Health is considering vaccinating people to be the most effective form of prevention. It has further revealed the source of outbreak to be as the strains of the 1B genetic subtype, which is more common across the Mediterranean belt. This epidemic is spread through contact with feces, thus tapping the areas with inadequate access to sanitation at highest risk.

San Diego is further witnessed taking preventive measures by installing dozens of hand-washing stations and sanitizing city streets.