According to the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency, 228 cases of hepatitis A have been reported in 2017, with 161 people hospitalized during the outbreak. There have been 5 deaths. Public health investigators continue to evaluate cases, but most of those who have become ill are either homeless and/or illicit drug users. Hepatitis A is most commonly spread person-to-person through the fecal-oral route. The disease can be prevented by getting vaccinated. So far, officials said no common food, drink or drug source has been identified as the cause.
In addition, the number of hepatitis A cases over last year in Macomb, Oakland, Wayne and St. Clair counties has increased tenfold, spawning a Michigan Department of Health and Human Services investigation. 190 cases have been reported between August 1, 2016 and June 26, 2017, which has resulted in 10 deaths so far. Officials said it represents a significant health threat, with links to either illicit drug use, sexual activity or close contact among household members.
Symptoms of hepatitis A include jaundice, fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine and light-colored stools. Symptoms usually appear over several days and last less than two months. However, some people can be ill for as long as six months. Hepatitis A can also sometimes cause liver failure and death.