California gov. declares emergency in hepatitis A outbreak

Oct. 13 (UPI) — California Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday declared a state of emergency to control a hepatitis A outbreak.

Last month, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency declared local outbreaks in September. The Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency began issuing health alerts about the virus in May.

A news release from Brown’s office said the emergency proclamation authorizes the state’s department of public health to purchase more hepatitis A vaccines and “distribute them to impacted communities.”

Santa Cruz County has had at least 73 cases of the virus since April, San Diego County has had 490 cases and 18 deaths, and Los Angeles County has had 10 cases, eight of which were linked to outbreaks in the other two counties.

Hepatitis A is usually spread by mouth through contact with objects, food or drinks contaminated by the feces of an infected person. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says symptoms of the virus include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, clay-colored bowel movements, joint pain and jaundice.

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