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LOS ANGELES COUNTY — On a motion by Supervisor Kathryn Barger, the Board of Supervisors directed the Department of Public Health to report back within 14 days on current efforts to prevent a Hepatitis A outbreak in Los Angeles County -- including public awareness/education and a plan for response should an outbreak occur.

Since mid-July, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has confirmed three cases of Hepatitis A occurring in persons who acquired the infection in San Diego. On July 31, 2017, following the first two cases, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health issued a Health Advisory through the Los Angeles Health Alert Network (LAHAN) describing the situation and providing prevention recommendations.

Additionally, on September 1, a case was identified in a food handler in Lancaster and outreach is ongoing to inform patrons of the need to be vaccinated.

At this time, Public Health does not consider there to be a Hepatitis A outbreak in Los Angeles County, however it is important that the County proactively educate the community on ways to prevent Hepatitis A infection, and have a response plan in the event that the County does see an increase in Hepatitis A cases.

Hepatitis A is a viral infection of the liver.  It is transmitted by close personal and fecal exposure, often through food or water.  Outbreaks have occurred when a food handler who has poor hygiene contaminates food.  Currently, a large Hepatitis A outbreak is ongoing in San Diego County with most cases occurring among homeless and drug-using populations.  Following exposure, vaccination or immunoglobulin given within 2 weeks prevents illness.