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By Tom Christensen
County of San Diego Communications Office 

County releases hepatitis A outbreak report

 

Last updated 5/27/2018 at 3:55pm

A San Diego County public health nurse gives a vaccination as part of the Homeless Outreach Team's efforts to stop the spread of hepatitis A; the county released it's after action report of the response to the recent hepatitis A outbreak

The county of San Diego recently released an after action report that summarizes the county's response to an unprecedented hepatitis A outbreak that began in early March 2017.

A local public health emergency was declared Sept. 1, and stayed in effect until Jan. 23.

The purpose of an after action report is a self-evaluation to document an agency's response after an emergency. The "Hepatitis A Outbreak After Action Report" looks at the county's response to the local health emergency and actions taken during the outbreak to assess what worked well, what could be improved and a plan for making recommended improvements.

Among the 21 recommendations in the report:

● Enhancing the use of an incident command structure to coordinate regional actions, including convening a group of county and regional executive leadership from affected areas that meets regularly

● Ensure more county staff not normally assigned to emergency situations are trained so that they may be utilized for large-scale, long-lasting or unique public health emergencies

● Work with local health care providers to ensure that people who work with homeless individuals and drug users receive the HAV vaccine and that all health care providers enter the vaccinations into the immunization registry

● Educate all county jail inmates on hepatitis A risk and encourage them to be vaccinated

The report also highlights several novel approaches taken to combat the outbreak including the use of foot teams. The teams paired up county Health and Human Service Agency public health nurses with homeless outreach workers and public safety officers who were deployed to provide vaccinations and education in homeless encampments, difficult to reach areas near river beds, in canyons and at locations that provide services to homeless people.

The complete report is available online at: http://www.sandiegocounty.gov/content/dam/sdc/cosd/SanDiegoHepatitisAOutbreak-2017-18-AfterActionReport.pdf.

 

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