City officials in San Diego declared a public health emergency Friday over an outbreak of hepatitis A that has been linked to at least 15 deaths and 400 hospitalizations.
The liver disease outbreak started last November, with the homeless population affected most. The emergency declaration will help the city access state funds and provide legal protection for new sanitation measures, the Union-Tribune reported.
Areas with high concentrations of homeless people will receive roughly 40 portable hand-washing stations to help combat the disease, which can spread through fecal matter when people fail to thoroughly clean their hands after using the restroom.
Crews also plan to use bleach-spiked water for high-pressure washing to remove “all feces, blood, bodily fluids or contaminated surfaces,” according to a sanitation plan outlined in a letter Thursday.
Other cities in the region can expect to see similar hand-washing and street-sanitizing efforts, said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the region’s public health officer.
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