Hepatitis A cases are on the rise in El Paso County. Colorado and Public Health leaders want to cut it off before it reaches the status of the outbreak. The number of cases in the county leads the rest of the state by a wide margin. The state health department reports 52 cases statewide, 43 of those are in El Paso County.
“For the most part it’s been limited to high-risk populations including people who are experiencing homelessness and people who are using illicit drugs,” said Kimberly Pattison with El Paso County Public Health. There has been an intensive effort to protect high-risk people, by offering vaccinations. Measures like clinics in conjunction with shelters and service providers. Health teams are also going to campsites. “So we’re sending out a nurse and an outreach worker with some of our law enforcement partners to go to where our homeless community is staying and bring the vaccine directly to them.”
The whole community should be aware because the disease is highly contagious. It is a “hygiene issue,” said Pattison. Washing hands is the best prevention. Clean hands are especially important when handling food.