Last month, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a motion to survey homeless encampments in unincorporated county areas to determine where toilets, hand washing facilities and showers can be located to battle the spread of hepatitis A. Encampments in the San Gabriel Valley River Bed and Los Angeles River Bed will be included in the study that will assess where additional toilet, hand washing and shower facilities are most needed. The motion came about a month after a hepatitis outbreak was declared in Los Angeles County by the county’s public health director. City leaders in Los Angeles have been looking at adding a hygiene center on Skid Row in downtown.
Reports of hepatitis A outbreaks in San Diego and Santa Cruz counties have raised concerns about the deadly disease that is spread person to person through close contact or through contact with environments contaminated with feces. San Diego County has seen about 481 cases and 17 deaths. Public toilets around large homeless encampments have been problematic because they attract illegal activity such as illegal drug use. One alternative has been mobile toilets and showers that would be made available but would not be permanent fixtures. It is important to maintain good hygiene and wash your hands after using the restroom.