An Outbreak of Hepatitis A in Utah May Have Spread From San Diego

From TIME - January 10, 2018

(SPANISH FORK, Utah)Thousands of people may have been exposed to hepatitis A in Utah amid a widening outbreak that originally spread from a large epidemic in San Diego, health officials said Wednesday.

Infected workers may have exposed customers at two Salt Lake City area restaurants and a convenience store, authorities said.

All three locations were linked to a Utah outbreak that began in August among Salt Lake Citys homeless population and illicit drug users.

Tests connected it to an outbreak in San Diego that killed 20 people and sickened hundreds more, said Salt Lake County Health Department spokesman Nicholas Rupp. It was the worst epidemic of its kind in the US in 20 years. California officials have said the San Diego epidemic has eased but is not over yet.

Utah officials believe the disease spread as people moved between homeless centers in the two states, Rupp said. Utah has confirmed 152 cases so far and no deaths have been reported.

Hepatitis A is an extremely contagious liver disease spread easily through contaminated food and water or sexual contact.

Homeless people are especially vulnerable because they often dont have easy access to sanitation, Rupp said. Outbreaks in Arizona and Colorado have also been linked to San Diego, he said.


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