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STAT News: Hepatitis A Marches Through San Diego's Homeless Community

Dr. Jonathan Fielding, professor in-residence in FSPH's Department of Health Policy and Management was quoted October 6 in STAT News about the outbreak of hepatitis A in San Diego caused by the city pushing its homeless population into increasingly congested encampments and narrow freeway onramps just east of downtown.

Friday, October 6, 2017

An outbreak waiting to happen: Hepatitis A marches through San Diego’s homeless community

Dr. Jonathan Fielding, professor in residence at FSPH's Department of Health Policy and Mangement, who previously headed the LA County Department of Public Health said “It could take a year or more" to address the hepatitis A outbreak now roiling San Diego after the city cleaned up for the 2016 All-Star Game by pushing its homeless out of the touristy areas downtown and into increasingly congested encampments and narrow freeway onramps just east of downtown while at the same time locking and removing bathrooms to help control the rampant drug and prostitution trade.  

Hepatitis A is transmitted through contact with feces from an infected person, and in close, unsanitary conditions, the highly contagious virus can spread explosively. So it was only a matter of time, experts say, before cases would surge among the homeless.

The CDC has issued a nationwide public health alert because the same strain found in San Diego has sickened people in Los Angeles, Santa Cruz, Calif., and now a homeless shelter in Maricopa County, Arizona, and is linked to patients in Colorado, Utah, and Rhode Island as well. Wooten has been busy fielding calls from fellow public health officers around the country asking what they should do.

Read the full article on STAT



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