After a wave of Hepatitis A outbreaks in both Santa Cruz and San Diego Counties, the spate of infections has hit Los Angeles County.
The Public Health Department for Los Angeles County confirmed that, of the 10 known Hepatitis A cases, at least two of those cases were contracted in Los Angeles city. Homeless individuals are seen as the highest risk population for contracting the disease.
Jeffrey Gunzenhauser, the interim health officer for L.A. County, wrote in a statement: “Public Health has been proactively preparing for an outbreak for some time and is working diligently to prevent spread in local communities. Our priorities are to keep all our residents both safe and well informed of the situation. Vaccination is the best protection against Hepatitis A. With this in mind, our outreach teams and clinics are offering free vaccines to persons who are homeless, active drug users, and those who provide services and support to those individuals.”
Hepatitis A is most commonly transmitted through food and beverages, contaminated cups, spoons, and other eating utensils, and shared restrooms. Since Hep A can also be transmitted via sexual contact and touch, sexually active gay men have a higher risk of contracting the disease.
Public health clinics across Los Angeles County have begun offering free vaccinations to fight the outbreak. To find a clinic near you, call 211 or visit the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health website at publichealth.lacounty.gov.