A man gets a hepatitis A vaccine shot amid a deadly outbreak of the disease in San Diego. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

County health officials aren’t reporting new hepatitis A cases a week after revealing a small spike in infections.

After further testing, county spokesman Tim McClain said the county has tallied four hepatitis A cases so far this year, down from the five it initially reported last week. Three of the four cases were among unhoused residents, including one who passed away. The county typically sees two to three cases a month.

The county flagged the spike in the wake of a 2017-2018 hepatitis A outbreak that sickened nearly 600 people and left 20 dead, including more than a dozen who were homeless.

Given past experience, officials say they are being proactive and coordinating in ways they initially didn’t in 2017.

McClain wrote in an email that the county vaccinated 113 sheltered and unsheltered residents at nine locations last week and plans to inoculate San Diegans at five locations this week. The county also issued guidance to healthcare providers last week urging them to provide hepatitis A vaccinations to at-risk residents.

Dave Rolland, a spokesman for Mayor Todd Gloria, said the city and county have been in “regular contact on potential responses” and that city shelters have instituted hepatitis A screenings for newcomers.

Rolland wrote in an email that the city’s homeless outreach teams are also deploying hygiene kits and educational materials. He also noted that the city continues to regularly sanitize sidewalks, a practice it began during the 2017 outbreak.

Lisa Halverstadt

Lisa is a senior investigative reporter who digs into some of San Diego's biggest challenges including homelessness, city real estate debacles, the region's...

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