Deadly hepatitis A outbreak spreading through California

LOS ANGELES – Today, Governor Jerry Brown declared a statewide hepatitis A outbreak in California. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) is actively responding to a local outbreak of hepatitis A that includes 13 confirmed cases. These cases have been associated with persons who are homeless and/or use illicit drugs (injection and non-injection). The Governor’s declaration directs that the California Department of Public Health coordinate vaccine supply and enhance statewide and local efforts to help reduce spread of hepatitis A.

Public Health continues surveillance for cases to diligently monitor and vaccinate all individuals who may have been exposed to ill individuals with hepatitis A, and works closely with healthcare providers and organizations that serve the homeless to protect the health of patients/clients, staff and the community. Public Health recommends that local cities increase access to bathrooms and handwashing stations for homeless individuals. Public Health also notified healthcare providers to increase awareness and detection of hepatitis A. Physicians are required to report hepatitis A cases to Public Health.

Public Health is providing education and vaccination to the homeless and those who work with them, and working with other organizations, including the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, that provide services for the homeless population to reach this community. Public Health outreach teams and clinics are offering free vaccine to persons who are homeless, active drug users, and those who provide services and support to those individuals.

Public Health will continue to work with the State to make vaccine available for at-risk individuals.

For more information on hepatitis A or locations for vaccination, visit publichea lth.lacounty.gov.