An opportunity for education
Hepatitis A is a disease that can spread easily in environments like encampments where people have limited access to facilities for hygiene and safe food preparation.
A deadly outbreak of hepatitis A among California's unsheltered community prompted HCHN to quickly mobilize a local outbreak prevention response in the fall of 2017. Efforts were successful.
HCHN, as a program of Public Health — Seattle & King County, worked with internal experts from Communicable Diseases, Environmental Health, and Emergency Management departments.
Externally, HCHN geared up its Mobile Medical vans and leveraged existing community partner relationships to rapidly disseminate information through flyers and word of mouth.
Over 500 individuals at shelters, encampments, and food banks were educated and vaccinated against hepatitis A.
HCHN's Planning Council turned the potential outbreak into an opportunity to educate multiple stakeholders and policy makers on the importance of hygiene services and restroom access.
Finding public bathrooms and safe places to keep clean are challenges for unsheltered individuals. Disease Prevention and dignity are both provided when we help meet these basic needs.
HCHN staff set-up an early evening mobile clinic at a local encampment to educate and vaccinate residents.