SDPD clears large homeless encampment to help stop hepatitis A outbreak

Posted at 9:40 AM, Sep 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-28 22:28:42-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- The city is ramping up efforts to stop the spread of hepatitis A, including clearing out hundreds of people from homeless camps in downtown San Diego.

San Diego police on Wednesday raided one of the county's largest encampments located along 17th and Imperial Avenue in the East Village where several dozen people were living in tents and brush.

Officers were able to clear out most of the people during the raid, some were taken into custody.  Police did not give further information.

It's unclear where the displaced homeless people were relocated.

10News was on the scene early Friday morning for a live report when several dozen rats were spotted swarming the area. The rodents were believed to be nesting in brush located only feet from where the homeless were living.

Local health officials are in the midst of an hepatitis A epidemic with the first cases reported early this year. The virus is known to have sickened at least 461 people and killed 17 in San Diego County since November.

The outbreak started with the homeless and drug using population, according to health officials.

In the past month, City and County governments have added hand washing stations and portable bathrooms to the downtown area. They've also power washed streets and sidewalks. Homeless outreach groups and County health workers have been giving out free vaccines as well.