There are currently several hepatitis A outbreaks occurring in California that are associated with persons who are homeless and/or use illicit drugs, including outbreaks in San Diego and Los Angeles. To date, a common source of food, beverage, or other cause has not been identified. There are currently no local cases in the City of Long Beach, however we could see cases in the future due to the close proximity to the ongoing outbreak. As a result, the City of Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services is working to enhance prevention efforts by increasing education and vaccinating key personnel.
WHAT IS HEPATITIS A?
Hepatitis A is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis A virus. It can last a few weeks to several months, but it goes away on its own in almost all cases. Hepatitis A does not lead to long-term liver problems.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF HEPATITIS A?
Hepatitis A does not always cause symptoms. If symptoms occur, they can develop 15-50 days after being infected. The most common symptoms of hepatitis A are:
- Stomach pain
- Dark color urine
- Fever (up to 102 degrees)
- Jaundice (Yellowing of the skin)
- Loss of appetite
- Muscle pain
HOW IS HEPATITIS A SPREAD?
Hepatitis A is typically spread through the fecal-oral route. This is when an uninfected person ingests food or water that has been contaminated with even a small amount of feces. This can occur when:
- Touching food or objects contaminated with hepatitis A
- Having sex with someone infected with hepatitis A
HOW IS HEPATITIS A TREATED?
Hepatitis A goes away on its own in most cases. You can help yourself get better faster by drinking lots of water, eating a healthy mix of foods, and avoiding alcohol. While you have hepatitis A, cut back on daily activities until all your energy returns. Those who have had hepatitis A before can never get sick from it again.
HOW CAN I PROTECT MYSELF FROM HEPATITIS A?
- Hepatitis A shots (vaccinations) 6 months apart
- Wash hands with soap and clean water often, especially at these times:
- Before eating or preparing food
- After using the bathroom or changing diapers
- Avoid sexual practices that might result in oral exposure to stool (e.g.: oral-anal contact).
- Use your own towels, toothbrushes, and eating utensils
- Don’t share food, drinks, or smoking devices with other people
WHO SHOULD GET VACCINATED FOR HEPATITIS A?
- All children at 1 year of age
- Travelers to countries where hepatitis A is common
- Family and caregivers of adoptees from countries where hepatitis A is common
- Men who have sex with men
- Recreational drug users
- People with chronic liver disease or hepatitis B or C
- People with clotting-factor disorders
- People who have potential exposure to hepatitis A in an outbreak situation
WHERE CAN I LEARN MORE ABOUT HEPATITIS A?
California Department of Public Health:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
Hepatitis A Vaccination Recommendations and Updated Guidance for Providers (September 13, 2017)
Hepatitis A FAQ (Spanish FAQ)
Hepatitis A Vaccine Clinics
Hepatitis A Infographic (English & Spanish)
Hepatitis A Cleaning Protocol
For additional information, please contact (562) 570-7907.