California health officials have stepped up their hepatitis A prevention efforts in recent days as new fronts emerge in the battle against the state’s massive outbreak.
Most of the 20 people killed and more than 600 sickened in the outbreak that began in San Diego were homeless. But cases have begun to surge in Los Angeles County among gay and bisexual men who are not homeless. And an LAPD officer who works on skid row was recently infected with the virus.
As a result, county officials have called for first responders, members of law enforcement working in the field and men who have sex with men — as well as homeless people — to get vaccinated against hepatitis A.
“We’ve got to be there with those that we’re asking to help us deal with our homeless population,” said L.A. County Supervisor Janice Hahn. “We’ve got to be as concerned about their public safety as we are the safety of those who are sleeping on the streets. … This could be a huge public health crisis.”
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