An electron micrograph of the Hepatitis A virus (HAV)

More than 500 cases of Hepatitis A have been diagnosed in California this year, though none have been in Santa Barbara County. The majority — 444 cases, including 16 deaths — were identified in San Diego County, mostly among homeless people and illicit drug users. The highly contagious liver infection can be prevented by vaccine, and using soap and water to wash hands before handling food can help prevent transmission, County Public Health advised. The department has been informing health-care providers on high-risk individuals who should be vaccinated and offering the vaccine at homeless shelters.


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