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Oct 16, 2017

CALIFORNIA DECLARES EMERGENCY TO FIGHT HEPATITIS A OUTBREAK


By Associated Press | www.kansas.com

SAN DIEGO – California Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday declared a state of emergency to combat a hepatitis A outbreak that has claimed 18 lives in San Diego.

Brown said the federally-funded supply of vaccines is inadequate. His proclamation allows the state to buy vaccines directly from manufacturers and distribute them.

The declaration “allows us to move very swiftly,” Dr. Gil Chavez, epidemiologist at the California Department of Public Health, told reporters. He said the state would place an order Monday or Tuesday and supplies would reach the state soon after.

California has distributed 81,000 federally-funded vaccine doses since the outbreak began and local jurisdictions have acquired more but the supply is insufficient, Chavez said.

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. The state says the majority affected are homeless, using drugs or both.

There have been 576 cases throughout California, including 490 in San Diego County, 71 in Santa Cruz County and eight in Los Angeles County. Out of those, 386 people have been hospitalized, including 342 in San Diego, 33 in Santa Cruz and six in Los Angeles. No deaths have been reported outside San Diego County… read more