The Homeless Population and Risks of Hepatitis A

The Homeless Population and Risks of Hepatitis A
Posted on 12/04/2017

 By CHPD Chief Robby Russo

While the Rio Grande Project has been successful in clearing one of Salt Lake City's worst homeless areas, members of that population have found their way to other cities including Cottonwood Heights. 

There are many impacts, but perhaps one of the most critical, according to the Salt Lake County Health Department, is the potential for a Hepatitis A outbreak among people who:

•  are experiencing homelessness

•  use illicit drugs

•  or have been incarcerated

As this population appears in our city, they often use public restrooms in local businesses. While feeling sympathy for those who suffer from the effects of poverty and homelessness, it's a good reminder for everyone to consider receiving the Hepatitis A vaccine. You can confirm your vaccination status by asking your health care provider to review your personal immunization record. 

If you have not been vaccinated, please call 385-468-SHOT (7468) to make an appointment at a Salt Lake County Health Department immunization clinic.

The clinic accepts most insurance plans (call to confirm coverage), or you may also receive the vaccine through your health care provider or local pharmacy.

I appreciate the Utah State Health Department and Salt Lake County Health Department Deputy Director Dorothy Adams who are reaching out to businesses in our area to help them understand risk and proper decontamination of their restrooms. It’s another example of a partnership attacking a common problem.