California governor declares emergency over heptatitis A outbreak

(KRON) – California governor declares emergency as San Diego heptatitis A outbreak leads to vaccine shortage.

The hepatitis A outbreak has claimed 18 lives in Southern California.

California is experiencing the largest hepatitis A outbreak in the United States transmitted from person to person – instead of by contaminated food – since the vaccine became available in 1996.

There are 578 cases reported throughout California, the vast majority in San Diego.

The California Department of Public Health has posted information on its website about the vaccine shortage.

From the CDPH post:

California Governor Edmund G Brown Jr. today declared a state of emergency to help control the state’s hepatitis A outbreak and increase the supply of adult hepatitis A vaccines to meet current needs. 
“Vaccinating people at risk of exposure is the most effective tool we have to prevent the spread of hepatitis A infection during an outbreak,” said California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Director and State Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith. 
To help combat the outbreak, CDPH has already distributed nearly 80,000 doses of the vaccine that were obtained through the federal vaccine program, but those supplies must be increased to continue to address the outbreak. Today’s declaration allows CDPH to immediately purchase additional vaccines directly from manufacturers and coordinate distribution to people at greatest risk in affected areas. 
The adult hepatitis A vaccine is different than the one given to children, of which there is ample supply. 
The risk of hepatitis A infection is associated with poor sanitation and hygiene and is transmitted through ingestion of contaminated food and drink or through direct contact with an infectious person. The current outbreak has largely impacted people experiencing homelessness and some illicit drug users. The virus can live for months in a contaminated environment, particularly in the absence of good sanitation. 

NORTH BAY FIRE COVERAGE: 

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