Now for the rest of the alphabet!
Well… maybe we should hold off on that… Hep A may not be down for long.
On Tuesday, Jan 23, San Diego County Board of Supervisors declared the emergency over as new cases haven’t come forward and there have been no deaths since December. There are four potential cases of it, and with flu coming in with record numbers, Hep A, might just be getting crowded out of hospitals.
The problem is that it’s not over.
The cause for the Hep A outbreak remains unknown, and with the growing homeless population in San Diego, it’s still ripe for another outbreak. Over 100,000 Hep A vaccinations were handed out in the months after the state of emergency was declared. Those newly vaccinated persons will help in San Diego’s Herd Immunity, however the city is dangerously close to a source of constant potential exposure to Hepatitis A. Tijuana sewage often flows right onto San Diego County beaches. The polluted water outside Imperial Beach is just one of the constant potential sources of Hep A.
The reason the Hep A outbreak spread the way it did comes from a direct reaction to San Diego’s focus on homelessness. This year, in part as a response to the Outbreak, Churches in La Jolla and other places closed the doors to their food banks just days before Thanskgiving.
San Diego’s unethical response to homelessness fuels its existence. When PetCo park was first built, it’s construction displaces hundreds of homeless to random pockets around the city, these pockets are now largely tent villages. San Diego committed millions of dollars to help fix this homelessness problem with a very real solution: build more affordable housing. But in a hamfisted attempt to hurry up the process, they reallocated a large portion to create a facility like father Joe’s village, but with three times the operating price.
The City, much like other conservative cities in Southern California, has no real interest in fixing the complicated problem of homelessness. Because it’s not simply fixed by housing, homelessness is a condition of the inability to care for one’s self, in whatever capacity that may be. Thankfully organizations like (Father Joe’s continue to do more.)
So long as we allow more people to join the ranks of homelessness, we will continue to be on yellow alert for Hep A.
How can you protect yourself? Get a Hep A vaccination, and volunteer with organizations like So Others May Eat.