SAN DIEGO ( — City officials are using water spiked with bleach to help combat a deadly outbreak of hepatitis A in San Diego.

Mayor Kevin Faulconer says street washing will occur every other week after county officials earlier this month declared a public health emergency due to the spread of the liver disease that has killed 15 people and hospitalized 300 more.

The homeless and drug-using population has been hit the hardest.

Earlier this month, San Diego County gave the city five business days to come up with a plan to address what officials described as a “fecally contaminated environment” in the downtown area.

Crews will use bleach-spiked water for the high-pressure washing of surfaces that may have feces, blood or bodily fluids.

About 40 portable hand-washing stations are being installed in areas with concentrations of homeless, the Associated Press reports.

Meanwhile, a report on current efforts to prevent a Hepatitis A outbreak in Los Angeles County is expected to be submitted within the next week after the virus was identified in a food handler in Lancaster on Sept. 1.

The virus lives in human feces and spreads if people who have used the bathroom don’t properly clean their hands.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Comments (12)
  1. Paul Boylan says:

    This is just history repeating itself: throughout the ages the following formula has been true:

    People plus crowded conditions minus basic hygiene equals plague.

    The number of homeless people is increasing. The space for them is decreasing. Those cities and towns effected by increasing homeless populations resist providing them with any benefits – like toilets and sinks and soap and washing machines for clothes. If a person cannot wash, then they become filthy, and that filth becomes the vector for disease epidemics.

    San Diego is avoiding confronting the real problem by thinking they can address a hepatitis outbreak by spraying streets with bleach. If any city or state wants to avoid pandemics that begin in homeless populations then those populations need to be allowed to take a shower and wash their clothes once in a while. If this encourages homeless people to come to your city or town, then that is a small price to pay to avoiding viral or antibiotic resistant bacterial plagues that will kill hundreds of thousands if not millions and will not discriminate on victims based on how much money they have.

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