Over the last few months, Frank, an avid reader about all things “US Vet,” has emailed several articles to me about the hepatitis A (HAV) outbreak in San Diego (SD) to share with Asknod’s folk. The ongoing story has many aspects that deserve our attention.
Home to 60 Naval ships, (LINK) homeless SD Veterans are among those who have to live in the unbearable conditions that have led to the spread of this highly contagious form of hepatitis.
Statistics, according to one article, suggest that perhaps 10-15% of the SD homeless population are veterans. (LINK)
The annual count of homeless people taken in January found 1,054 homeless veterans in the county. Of those, 600 were sheltered and 454 were unsheltered. In all, the county had 9,116 homeless people, with 5,619 in San Diego.
A 9/19/17 Huffingtonpost article (LINK) has revealed in common terms some of the realistic strategies SD is taking.
An outbreak of hepatitis A, a dangerous but preventable disease that is spread through fecal contamination and attacks the liver, has gotten so out of hand in San Diego that the county government is handing out plastic poop bags and washing the streets with bleach.
Why? Because there aren’t enough public bathrooms for people to use to evacuate and wash their hands. HAV may also be an unintended consequence of a recent single-use plastic bag ban, according to some (LINK):
On SD homeless Veterans (LINK)
Class-action lawsuit against SD by those who must sleep in their cars (LINK)
Couldn’t find much more from the SD VA but I expect they are doing outreach.
The SD strain has spread to other towns, including one in Arizona. Know anything more about this? We tend to think HAV isn’t such a big deal.