To fight back against a deadly Hepatitis A outbreak, the city of San Diego has started to wash its streets with bleach.
The disease has taken the lives of at least 16 people, and its spread has pushed the county to declare a public health emergency earlier this month.
San Diego Fights Back Against Hepatitis A
The Hepatitis A outbreak has largely infected the homeless people of San Diego, with the alleged shortage of public restrooms in the locations where they gather blamed as part of the problem.
San Diego County health officials, in a letter, said that Hepatitis A was being spread through coming into contact with fecally contaminated environments and through person-to-person transmission. The county sent a directive at the end of August to demand the city to wash its streets and expand access to public restrooms.
The city has started to comply with the directive, and on Sept. 11 started washing areas where homeless people frequent using a diluted solution of household bleach. The cleanup is expected to be finished by Sept. 15.
In addition to cleaning its streets, San Diego city and county officials have ordered vaccination drives and the distribution of flyers pertaining to the problem. There have also been plans for possible temporary housing for the homeless, to prevent further transmission of the disease. Three facilities in San Diego have been identified for this purpose, according to an official statement of the San Diego government.
How To Protect Yourself Against Hepatitis A
For people who are in San Diego, and for those who will need to enter the city, there are ways to protect against possible Hepatitis A infections.
Sharp Grossmont Hospital infectious disease Doctor Fadi Haddad said in an interview that the first thing that people can do to protect themselves from Hepatitis A is to receive the vaccinations, if they can afford it.
For those who are not able to afford the shots, there are other measures. People are recommended to frequently wash their hands, especially after taking public transportation or using public restrooms. The virus is capable of lingering on surfaces for months, so it is better to be safe and keep washing your hands even if surfaces appear to be clean.
Hepatitis A is usually not life threatening, but older patients and those who have previous liver conditions can succumb to the disease. There is no treatment or cure available for Hepatitis A, so victims will need to endure the sickness, and that can last several weeks.