CDC: Hepatitis A Outbreak In Arizona Linked To San Diego

By Will Stone
Published: Thursday, October 5, 2017 - 6:30pm

Public health officials say an ongoing outbreak of Hepatitis A that has sickened hundreds in Southern California also made its way to Arizona earlier this year.

Altogether, fifteen people in Maricopa County were infected with the same strain of Hepatitis A as the one originating in San Diego, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There, the virus has predominantly spread among the homeless population and has already killed more than a dozen people.

Dr. Sally Ann Iverson, a CDC intelligence officer working with the Maricopa County Health Department, said they traced the outbreak back to one man who visited a homeless shelter in Phoenix and had recently traveled to California.

Nearly everyone in Arizona who became infected was hospitalized, but no one actually died.

“We usually don’t see this large scale outbreak of Hepatitis A, especially in the post-vaccine era,” Iverson told KJZZ. “But again we just really want to emphasize that the most important way to prevent Hepatitis A is for people to wash their hands before eating and after using the restroom, and then also vaccination plays a role, as well.”

She said the biggest known risk factor among those who became ill in Arizona was homelessness. Once they detected the outbreak, she said public health officials quickly took measures to contain the virus.

Hepatitis A affects the liver and is rarely fatal.

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