San Diego Declares End to Hepatitis Outbreak

A Hepatitis A outbreak that killed 20 people and sickened hundreds more has officially ended, according to San Diego County health officials. Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county’s public health officer, declared an end to the outbreak last week, two years after it first began.

There have been just 15 confirmed cases of Hepatitis A in the county this year, compared to an average of 84 a month at the apex of the epidemic. A combination of public awareness, sanitation improvements, and a widespread vaccination campaign helped to stem the tide.

The Hepatitis A outbreak, which predominantly affected members of the homeless community, had spread beyond San Diego County to Los Angeles and Santa Cruz as well, leading to a statewide emergency declaration. As County News reported last year, the crisis also led to finger pointing between the city and county of San Diego. 

One of the primary lessons of the crisis, according to this after action report, is the need for robust communication and coordination between agencies and a rapid plan for outreach to encourage immunizations.

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