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San Diego hepatitis carrier caused mass outbreak in Arizona

Downtown infectious disease conventioneers advised to get vaccinated

Contagion convention poster downtown
Contagion convention poster downtown

With San Diego's soaring death rate from hepatitis A, where better to hold IDWeek — a big-money infectious disease convention featuring the nation's top epidemic experts — than the tony reaches of the city’s downtown convention center?

"Where infectious disease news is viral," says an advertisement already posted in the Gaslamp Quarter by Contagion, an online operation devoted to covering "infectious diseases today."

"That’s right — Contagion® will return to ID Week this year — in San Diego, California — to provide exclusive written and video coverage on the biggest conference dedicated specifically to infectious diseases," says the website.

"One big topic that hits close to home in San Diego is hepatitis A."

IDWeek's website features a warning to attendees, though it's not quite ready to break out the Hazmat suits:

Kevin Faulconer

"We are confident that travel to San Diego is safe. We do urge visitors to follow standard good hygiene, washing your hands before eating. Vaccines to prevent Hepatitis A are also available, and non-health professionals should consult their doctor or other health professional."

"The Hepatitis A strain associated with the current outbreak is transmitted person to person and the city is taking many precautions, including vaccinating target populations, sanitizing the public streets where at-risk populations congregate and setting up 24-hour bathroom facilities for them."

"IDWeek attendees who are pregnant or have various immunocompromised conditions, chronic liver disease, clotting-factor disorders, such as hemophilia, and other high-risk circumstances should consider vaccination."

Whether this particular contingent of conventioneers gets the customary visitor greeting from city hall and GOP mayor Kevin Faulconer — accused by critics of favoring spin ahead of portable toilets — remains to be seen, but a new research paper is shedding more negative light on the local health disaster.

Sally Ann Iverson

On Thursday, a team led by Sally Ann Iverson, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention epidemic intelligence officer stationed in Phoenix, is set to present a paper entitled "Hepatitis A Outbreak Among Persons Experiencing Homelessness — Maricopa County, Arizona, 2017."

Using "Molecular and epidemiologic data" to pin down the source of a mass outbreak at a Maricopa County homeless shelter this past spring, the researchers determined that "the patient with the earliest onset arrived February 5 from San Diego, California, an area with an ongoing [hepatitis A] outbreak." Three samples of the virus were found to be "molecularly identical to San Diego."

Adds the abstract, "Crowding and suboptimal hygiene practices might have facilitated campus transmission. Expeditious vaccination might have slowed spread; surveillance is ongoing."

Another session with a San Diego angle is entitled "The Surprising Return of Hepatitis A: Ongoing Outbreaks Among Homeless and IDU Populations," to feature Monique Foster, MD, MPH of the Division of Viral Hepatitis at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Eric McDonald, MD, MPH, from the Epidemiology and Immunization Services Branch at the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency.

For those not eager to venture into the germ-infested Gaslamp Quarter, the event offers Posters in the Park on Wednesday. "Posters, wine, and cheese will be available in the Posters in the Park Area of the Poster Hall in the San Diego Convention Center," says the program.

"We encourage you to take this opportunity to mingle with colleagues and talk to poster presenters whose research has been specially selected by each of the partner societies."

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Contagion convention poster downtown
Contagion convention poster downtown

With San Diego's soaring death rate from hepatitis A, where better to hold IDWeek — a big-money infectious disease convention featuring the nation's top epidemic experts — than the tony reaches of the city’s downtown convention center?

"Where infectious disease news is viral," says an advertisement already posted in the Gaslamp Quarter by Contagion, an online operation devoted to covering "infectious diseases today."

"That’s right — Contagion® will return to ID Week this year — in San Diego, California — to provide exclusive written and video coverage on the biggest conference dedicated specifically to infectious diseases," says the website.

"One big topic that hits close to home in San Diego is hepatitis A."

IDWeek's website features a warning to attendees, though it's not quite ready to break out the Hazmat suits:

Kevin Faulconer

"We are confident that travel to San Diego is safe. We do urge visitors to follow standard good hygiene, washing your hands before eating. Vaccines to prevent Hepatitis A are also available, and non-health professionals should consult their doctor or other health professional."

"The Hepatitis A strain associated with the current outbreak is transmitted person to person and the city is taking many precautions, including vaccinating target populations, sanitizing the public streets where at-risk populations congregate and setting up 24-hour bathroom facilities for them."

"IDWeek attendees who are pregnant or have various immunocompromised conditions, chronic liver disease, clotting-factor disorders, such as hemophilia, and other high-risk circumstances should consider vaccination."

Whether this particular contingent of conventioneers gets the customary visitor greeting from city hall and GOP mayor Kevin Faulconer — accused by critics of favoring spin ahead of portable toilets — remains to be seen, but a new research paper is shedding more negative light on the local health disaster.

Sally Ann Iverson

On Thursday, a team led by Sally Ann Iverson, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention epidemic intelligence officer stationed in Phoenix, is set to present a paper entitled "Hepatitis A Outbreak Among Persons Experiencing Homelessness — Maricopa County, Arizona, 2017."

Using "Molecular and epidemiologic data" to pin down the source of a mass outbreak at a Maricopa County homeless shelter this past spring, the researchers determined that "the patient with the earliest onset arrived February 5 from San Diego, California, an area with an ongoing [hepatitis A] outbreak." Three samples of the virus were found to be "molecularly identical to San Diego."

Adds the abstract, "Crowding and suboptimal hygiene practices might have facilitated campus transmission. Expeditious vaccination might have slowed spread; surveillance is ongoing."

Another session with a San Diego angle is entitled "The Surprising Return of Hepatitis A: Ongoing Outbreaks Among Homeless and IDU Populations," to feature Monique Foster, MD, MPH of the Division of Viral Hepatitis at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Eric McDonald, MD, MPH, from the Epidemiology and Immunization Services Branch at the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency.

For those not eager to venture into the germ-infested Gaslamp Quarter, the event offers Posters in the Park on Wednesday. "Posters, wine, and cheese will be available in the Posters in the Park Area of the Poster Hall in the San Diego Convention Center," says the program.

"We encourage you to take this opportunity to mingle with colleagues and talk to poster presenters whose research has been specially selected by each of the partner societies."

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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