California’s Hepatitis A Outbreak Could Last Years: Health Officials

California’s outbreak of hepatitis A, already the nation’s second largest in the last 20 years, could continue for many more months, even years, health officials said Thursday.

At least 568 people have been infected and 17 have died of the virus since November in San Diego, Santa Cruz and Los Angeles counties, where local outbreaks have been declared.

Dr. Monique Foster, a medical epidemiologist with Division of Viral Hepatitis at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told reporters Thursday that California’s outbreak could linger even with the right prevention efforts.

“It’s not unusual for them to last quite some time — usually over a year, one to two years,” Foster said.

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