Death toll in San Diego hepatitis A outbreak climbs to 18 - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Death toll in San Diego hepatitis A outbreak climbs to 18

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - County health officials Tuesday reported the 18th death in the San Diego region's hepatitis A outbreak, among 490 total cases.

The county Health and Human Services Agency traced the outbreak to last November, with just under two-thirds of the victims being either homeless and/or drug users. Details on the latest fatality were not provided.

The county and city of San Diego have taken several steps to address the outbreak, including a stepped-up immunization campaign that has resulted in more than 68,000 people being vaccinated, spraying a sanitizing formula on streets and sidewalks, and placing portable hand-washing stations and restrooms in areas where the homeless congregate.

RELATED: City leaders kick off Hepatitis A prevention campaign

Both jurisdictions have proclaimed a local health emergency.

Monday, the city of San Diego opened a 136-space tent camp in Golden Hill to provide a safe area for the homeless. The camp is in the parking lot of a city operations yard.

Critics contend that a shortage of shelter space for the homeless exacerbated the hepatitis A outbreak.

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