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Health Highlights: Jan. 24, 2018

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

San Diego Hepatitis A Public Health Emergency Over: Officials

The hepatitis A public health emergency in San Diego is over, officials announced Tuesday.

They said no new cases were reported in the past month and no deaths have occurred since October. City officials have also pledged to continue measures to control the liver-damaging virus that lives in feces, the Associated Press reported.

The public health emergency was declared on Sept. 1, 2017 in response to the worst hepatitis A epidemic in the United States in 20 years. Between November 2016 and October 2017, 577 people became ill and 20 died.

Efforts to combat the outbreak included vaccinating more than 100,000 people, installing hand-washing stations, and cleaning streets with a bleach solution, the AP reported.

"New outbreak activity has leveled off to near zero," according to Wilma Wooten, San Diego County public health officer. "The sustained vaccination, sanitation and education efforts we undertook will continue and we will remain vigilant to make sure that the outbreak activity doesn't return."


Philadelphia Officials Propose Safe Injection Sites

Philadelphia could become the first city in the United States to allow safe drug injection sites in order to fight the opioid crisis.

The sites provide "a life-saving strategy and a pathway to treatment," and would be just one part of the city's overall effort to fight the opioid epidemic, Public Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said Tuesday, the Associated Press reported.

"No one here condones or supports illegal drug use in any way," Farley said. "We want people saddled with drug addiction to get help."

Philadelphia has the highest opioid death rate of any large U.S. city. More than 1,200 people in the city died from overdoses in 2017, one-third more than 2016, the AP reported.

At safe injection sites, people inject drugs under the supervision of a doctor or nurse who can give an overdose antidote if necessary.

Philadelphia is interested in hearing from operators interested in creating safe injection sites, but it's not clear how the federal government would respond if the city goes ahead with the plan.

No safe injection site has been established in a U.S. city, but Seattle has budgeted $1.3 million to create one. Safe injection sites are offered in Canada and Europe.

Philadelphia officials visited Vancouver and learned that safe injection sites in the Canadian city have reduced overdose deaths and the spread of diseases such as HIV and hepatitis C, the AP reported.

© 2020 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: January 2018

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