Medicine

Gov. Jerry Brown declares state of emergency over California's hep A outbreak

Gov. Jerry Brown declares state of emergency over California's hep A outbreak

Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr. of California declared on Friday a state of emergency due to a hepatitis outbreak that has taken at least 18 lives.

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.

To help combat the outbreak, CDPH has already distributed almost 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. He said the state would place an order Monday or Tuesday and supplies would reach the state soon after.

"We have the capacity to use as much vaccine as we can get our hands on", Dr. Gil Chavez told the LA Times.

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.

Koch Industries Inc. Raises Holdings in Vmware, Inc. (VMW)
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The county and city of San Diego have taken several steps to address the outbreak, including a stepped-up immunization campaign that has resulted in almost 76,000 people being vaccinated, the spraying of a sanitizing formula on streets and sidewalks, and the placement of portable hand-washing stations and restrooms in areas where the homeless congregate.

As of October 13, health officials tallied 490 hepatitis A cases in San Diego County, 71 cases in Santa Cruz County, 13 cases in Los Angeles County and seven cases in other parts of the state, according to the LA Times.

To this end, the San Diego County Health and Human Services has made major efforts to improve sanitation, such as installing handwashing stations in areas where high-risk individuals are known to congregate, updating street sanitation protocols, and distributing personal hygiene kits.

In a statement, the CDC said it assigned officials to San Diego in May for five weeks to help identify how the infection spread and prevent additional cases. The first cases were traced back to November. 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. CDPH also recommends vaccination of people who have frequent, close contact with at-risk populations in affected areas.


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