The CDC reports that last year four states experienced outbreaks of hepatitis A, mostly among homeless people and/or intravenous drug users. Overall, 1,521 people got sick and 41 died. This is the predictable outcome of societal negligence and our collective unwillingness to adequately address the homelessness crisis.
Unless they're eradicated smallpox-style, infectious diseases never disappear. Like an unlucky penny, they can show up at any time. Three stories from around the U.S. serve to underscore a crucial lesson.
Illnesses and deaths from hepatitis A are making headlines daily. And last year, it was hepatitis C. And what about hepatitis B? Let's decipher the hepatitis alphabet soup, and spell out the differences.
Most Americans are rightly squeamish about forcing anyone to do anything against their will. But allowing homeless people to do whatever they want is no longer a viable solution. When a community fails to practice proper hygiene and sanitation, it becomes a ticking time bomb for infectious disease.
Two of the most common travel-related infectious diseases are hepatitis A and measles. Both are preventable with vaccinations, but they don't work immediately. If you're planning a trip to Mexico or Central America, the hep A vaccine will protect you but not for 4-to-6 weeks. And everyone should be vaccinated against measles whether they travel or not.