SAN DIEGO (CNS) - One more death and additional new cases were reported Tuesday as a result of the hepatitis A outbreak in the San Diego County region, prompting the Board of Supervisors to keep a public health emergency declaration in place.
Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county's public health officer, said the death toll has climbed to 17, with 17 additional cases and 10 more hospitalizations this week.
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A total of 461 cases have been confirmed in the region, in what has been described as the largest outbreak of the virus in decades. The outbreak began last November, but was not identified until March. The youngest person to be infected was a 5-year-old who had not been previously vaccinated, Wooten said.
The health crisis has primarily hit the homeless population, accounting for 232 cases. About 154 of those were illicit drug users, she said.
Health officials say the most effective way to fight the contagious liver disease is by vaccinating at-risk populations, which include first responders, food handlers, health care professionals, service workers who interact with the homeless, workers in substance abuse programs and public transit employees.
In the past several months, county officials have made vaccines available free to the public, including those in homeless encampments and other hepatitis A hot spots. Officials said more than 40,000 people have been vaccinated so far. To continue the momentum in battling the virus, the city of San Diego has partnered with the county to provide free vaccinations at public libraries through December.
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Other sanitation measures have included the installment of 41 hand- washing stations and a new 24-hour restroom facility in the downtown area, where homeless people tend to congregate. Currently, there are 22 public restrooms downtown.
The operating hours of 14 restrooms in Balboa Park have also been expanded to 24 hours a day, and city streets are being power-washed and bleached on a regular basis.
San Diego survivors of the Las Vegas massacre gathered downtown Thursday night to pay tribute to the victims and to help raise money for their families.
The VA Hospital in La Jolla said that as many as 1,800 patients may have been injected with a compromised flu vaccine.
A devastating day for a San Diego family after a single mother who has lived in the U.S. for more than 20 years was deported Thursday.
An immigrant who had been shielded from deportation but was sent back to Mexico has dropped his lawsuit against the Trump administration.
The last two of eight prototypes for President Donald Trump's proposed border wall took shape Thursday at a construction site in San Diego.
A long-planned but controversial religious tourism and conference center project in Mission Valley was approved Tuesday by the San Diego City Council.
One person is in custody after leading San Diego police on a pursuit that came to a stop on the Coronado Bridge.
Cooler weather is expected Thursday throughout San Diego County as a low- pressure system moves into the region and a deep marine layer covers the coast.