Governor of California, Jerry Brown, has declared a state of emergency over the weekend as an insane outbreak of hepatitis A has spread across the wayward state.
So far at least 18 people are dead and nearly 500 are hospitalized. Keep in mind, this is the same place that wants to make it OK for those with HIV to not have to disclose their condition to any sexual partners.
Hepatitis A is typically transmitted through food but in the case of California, it seems to be getting spread from person to person.
This “state of emergency” gives the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) the power to purchase vaccines right away, from the manufacturers, and to distribute them as needed.
“We have the capacity to use as much vaccine as we can get our hands on,” said Dr. Gil Chavez, state epidemiologist with the California Department of Public Health.
“Vaccinating people at risk of exposure is the most effective tool we have to prevent the spread of hepatitis A,” said California Department of Public Health Director Dr. Karen Smith.
The declaration allows state health officials to buy additional doses of the hepatitis A vaccine to try to halt the outbreak, which is already the nation’s second largest in more than two decades.
The outbreak began in San Diego’s homeless community late last year, but has since spread outside the region. Los Angeles and Santa Cruz counties are also now experiencing outbreaks.
So far, 581 people in California have been sickened with the liver virus, more than half of whom have ended up in the hospital. The virus is particularly dangerous, and can be fatal, for people who already have other liver diseases, such as hepatitis B or C.
Federal health officials said last week that, even with the ongoing efforts to slow the spread of the disease, California’s outbreak could last years.