Be Clean: Hepatitis A Outbreak Declared in Los Angeles

According to the LA Times, an outbreak of Hepatitis A was declared in Los Angeles County by Public Health Officials

Transmission of Hepatitis A

The hepatitis A virus is transmitted primarily by the fecal-oral route; that is, when an uninfected person ingests food or water that has been contaminated with the feces of an infected person. In families, this may happen through dirty hands when an infected person prepares food for family members. Waterborne outbreaks are usually associated with sewage-contaminated or inadequately treated water.

The virus can also be transmitted through close physical contact with an infectious person, although casual contact among people does not spread the virus.

Preventing Hepatitis A

To reduce your risk of spreading or catching the Hepatitis A virus, always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water, before eating or serving food, after using the restroom and when you come in contact with an infected person’s blood, stools, or other bodily fluid.

Avoid unclean food and water.

You should take the following precautions:

Avoid raw or undercooked meat and fish.

Beware of sliced fruit that may have been washed in contaminated water. Travelers should peel all fresh fruits and vegetables themselves.

DO NOT buy food from street vendors.

When Traveling overseas and Central America: Use only carbonated bottled water for brushing teeth and drinking. (Remember that ice cubes can carry infection.)

When Traveling overseas and Central America: If no water is available, boiling water is the best method for eliminating hepatitis A. Bringing the water to a full boil for at least 1 minute generally makes it safe to drink.

Heated food should be hot to the touch and eaten right away.