Eight people have died from hepatitis A as the number of confirmed cases continues to climb in San Diego County, CA. So far, the virus has infected 275 people; 194 of them have been hospitalized. Public health officials have responded with vaccination clinics, by distributing sanitation supplies, and by stepping up awareness and education (eg, explaining that hep A is spread by sharing food or drugs, through unprotected sex, and by failing to practice good hygiene in general). The first case was reported in November; since then, six out of every 10 patients diagnosed have been found to have used illicit drugs. The spike in cases can serve as a reminder to all urgent care clinicians that probing for unsafe practices that could be linked with any communicable disease—and counseling accordingly—is a simple and no-cost way to stop the spread of infection before it starts.
Hep A Breakout Grows—and Kills Eight—in San Diego