SAN DIEGO (KGTV/CNS) - The number of deadly hepatitis A cases grew to 17 in the San Diego County outbreak, leading the Board of Supervisors to maintain a public health emergency declaration Tuesday.
There have been 461 cases since the outbreak started last November, according to County Public Health Officer Dr. Wilma Wooten.
Roughly half of the cases were in San Diego's homeless population, with illicit drug users making up 154 cases.
Health officials say the most effective method of preventing the disease is vaccination.
The County is encouraging anyone who has contact with at-risk populations to receive the inoculation, including first responders, public transit employees, and food and healthcare workers.
The City of San Diego and other at-risk locations have installed hand-washing stations and power washed streets.
San Diego City Council President Myrtle Cole Tuesday called on Mayor Kevin Faulconer to redirect $5 million previously set aside for a special election in November to "accelerate" the city's efforts to address homelessness:
"Our city is currently facing a deadly outbreak of Hepatitis A that is compounded by our rapidly growing homeless population. This is why we believe that the Mayor and City Council should work together immediately to develop a ballot measure that is focused only on a long-term funding source to prevent and respond to homelessness and affordable housing."
The statement was also signed by council members Barbara Bry, David Alvarez, and Georgette Gomez.