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Los Angeles County Public Health investigating Hepatitis A outbreak

Hepatitis A – Getty Images

The Los Angeles Department of Public Health is investigating a recent outbreak of hepatitis A.

Authorities say five homeless people have contracted hepatitis A since mid-March and are concerned about the contagiousness of the infection.


Hepatitis A affects the liver and spreads from person to person, many of whom do not know they have the virus. Medical authorities can only diagnose infection from a person’s blood or stool.

Public Health says unhoused people are at greater risk of becoming infected because they may not have access to handwashing facilities and toilets.

Public Health offers free hepatitis A vaccines to homeless people in encampments and temporary housing sites where there is a risk of potential exposure. The hepatitis A vaccine is usually a two-dose series of vaccines that are safe and very effective in preventing infection.

Although the current risk to the public is low, Public Health recommends that residents take the following steps to help prevent the spread of the disease:

  • Check to see if you have been vaccinated against hepatitis A. If not, contact your doctor to determine if you need to be vaccinated. Vaccination is the best way to prevent hepatitis A.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water before eating and preparing food and after using the toilet.

Hepatitis A can range from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious illness lasting several months. Symptoms of hepatitis include fever, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, dark urine, or yellow eyes/skin. Although rare, hepatitis A can cause death in some people.

News Source : ktla.com
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