Note: This webpage is no longer current and is for historical purposes only.
See for the latest information.


2017 Hepatitis A Outbreak

See below, or click the following links to learn more about:

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Update: The Hepatitis A Outbreak in San Diego County Has Officially Ended

The County of San Diego has announced that the hepatitis A outbreak has officially ended. This conclusion is based on the fact that it has been 100 days (two incubation cycles) since the onset of illness of the last hepatitis A outbreak-associated case. Two incubation cycles with no new outbreak-related cases is generally considered sufficient time to declare the outbreak over. 

The hepatitis A outbreak resulted in 592 cases and 20 deaths. San Diego County officials identified the outbreak in March 2017. They were also able to later trace some cases back to November 2016. The County declared a local health emergency on September 1, 2017. This emergency ended on January 23, 2018. 

Vaccination events started in March 2017. Through October 3, 2018, more than 203,850 hepatitis A vaccines were given via healthcare providers and County vaccination events in response to the outbreak. Although one shot is enough to contain the outbreak, the County continues to work with partner organizations to identify and offer vaccinations for all recommended groups.

Although the outbreak is over, County health officials anticipate travel-related hepatitis A cases to be reported. Typically, 2-3 cases are reported each month.

As part of the ongoing effort to prevent future outbreaks, the following persons are recommended to receive hepatitis A vaccine:

  • People experiencing homelessness.
  • Users of illegal drugs.
  • Men who have sex with men.
  • People with chronic liver disease, such as cirrhosis, hepatitis B, or hepatitis C. Though they may not be at increased risk of getting hepatitis A, they are at increased risk of poor outcomes if infected.
  • Anyone who is concerned about hepatitis A virus exposure and wants to be protected.

The vaccine is also recommended for the following individuals:

  • Children are routinely vaccinated between their first and second birthdays (12 through 23 months of age). Older children and adolescents can get the vaccine after 23 months. 
  • People traveling to countries where hepatitis A is common. 
  • Those being treated with clotting-factor concentrates. 
  • Adults who have not been vaccinated previously and want to be protected against hepatitis A. 

For information about hepatitis A vaccine, individuals should call their healthcare provider or 2-1-1 to find a community clinic that provides the vaccine. 

San Diego County Case and Vaccine Summary

Please note that cases are listed in the jurisdictions (counties) where they live. The table and map below will be updated once per month until further notice. Also, table and map below do not include all reported hepatitis A cases in the county; only those that are local-outbreak-related. Data are provisional and subject to change.

Table Hep A Outbreak Cases by Zip Code

Hepatitis A Outbreak Cases by Zip Code

Please note that cases are listed in the jurisdictions (counties) where they live.

Map: Hepatitis A Outbreak Vaccination Field Event Locations

Hepatitis A Vaccinations as of October 31, 2018



Response Efforts

The response to the outbreak featured a number of new or untried strategies, such as sending ‘foot-teams’ of nurses with homeless outreach workers and law enforcement to give vaccinations to at-risk individuals where they were residing. The County worked with cities and provided sanitation protocols to clean areas frequently used by persons experiencing homelessness, and deployed handwashing stations in public areas. 


County public health and community healthcare partners conducted targeted vaccination efforts. The hepatitis A vaccine is recommended for persons experiencing homelessness, users of illicit drugs, staff that work in homeless services and substance use treatment settings, public safety and emergency workers, healthcare workers, and sanitation workers.


Hygiene Kits

As part of prevention efforts, the County distributed hygiene kits (pictured right). These kits contained hand sanitizer, cleansing wipes, bottled water, an informational flyer, and a waste bag. Kits were provided to community partners that serve persons experiencing homelessness and users of illicit drugs who are at risk for hepatitis A infection and who have limited access to handwashing facilities. When distributed, community partners were encouraged to also recommend the hepatitis A vaccination.

Through October 31, 2018, 11,993 kits were distributed. 


The County, along with Live Well San Diego partners, and other community organizations took several steps to educate the community about the hepatitis A virus. These include:

  • A prevention outreach campaign started in mid-August in trolleys and bus stations in the City of San Diego.
  • Numerous presentations by Health and Human Services Agency staff to local community partners, providing them with vaccine, sanitation, proper hand washing, and other important information on how to prevent getting and spreading the hepatitis A virus. 
  • Developed and maintained a hepatitis A outbreak web page, containing the latest updates, resources, and educational information.
  • Produced and distributed in the community a variety of printed materials, including flyers, fact sheets, posters, and disinfection and other guidelines.
  • Produced news stories and articles for County News Center, County Television Network, and print and electronic media to keep the public informed about the hepatitis A outbreak.
  • Contracted with 2-1-1 San Diego to help provide the public with hepatitis A virus information and resources.
  • Foot Teams, consisting of public health nurses and other local healthcare providers, went out into the community to provide vaccines to at-risk persons.
  • Issued several health alerts to local healthcare providers and public safety personnel through the California Health Alert Network (CAHAN) San Diego, informing them about the latest surveillance information, recommendations for providers, reporting requirements and other relevant details.


County of San Diego

County News Center Stories

California Health Alert Network (CAHAN) San Diego Communications

California Department of Public Health Communications