California Hepatitis A outbreak makes it’s way to Utah by way of Metallica fans – when will it hit Chico?

11 Nov

A reader sent this story with the question, “How long before it hits Chico?”

“The San Diego outbreak has killed 20 people and more than 370 have required hospitalization. As of Tuesday, the county has tallied 544 people infected, and new cases continue to crop up. It’s one of the worst outbreaks the nation has seen in decades.”

San Diego was the first city, I believe, to report a Hepatitis A outbreak so bad they had city staff and volunteers hosing the streets of Downtown with bleach and water. Los Angeles and Santa Cruz have also reported numerous cases. The outbreak has been linked to public urination and defecation, and homeless advocates blame a lack of public toilet facilities. 

What homeless advocates haven’t explained yet is how filthy public toilets will stem the spread of this disease, and who should have to clean them. In San Diego three tourists became infected while in town for a rock concert. While they reportedly ate at a restaurant later cited for violations, county officials believe “More likely culprits would be publicly-shared bathrooms on or off property, another unknown infected person, or any contaminated surface in or around the establishment.”

That sure makes sense to me after I’ve been in Downtown Chico and seen the filth on the sidewalks right outside the entrance of busy restaurants.

And here’s my question – when will we hear reports of workers being infected? 

In Chico a private firm is contracted by the Downtown Business Association to clean the bathrooms, but anything beyond a mop and wipe requires the involvement of city staff. Staffers are routinely called upon to unplug toilets that have been filled with a variety of objects – including clothing and trash – and that’s a job that’s going to expose you to whatever’s coming around the pike.

Public works director Eric Gustafson has recommended “Portland Loo” – but these still have to be cleaned by a person, they’re not self-sanitizing. 

I’ve been watching the situation with the Jesus Center and I’m not sure how moving a homeless shelter is going to help this situation. The problem is, there are more of them pouring in every day.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: