PHOENIX — Public health officials in metro Phoenix say a hepatitis A outbreak linked to 17 deaths in San Diego has been contained in Arizona.

Arizona officials believe the local outbreak was mainly confined to homeless people in Maricopa County, The Arizona Republic reported (http://bit.ly/2gpCMm8).

The county recorded only 15 known cases and no deaths, and officials have detected no new Arizona cases since the end of May.

Officials believe the virus, which is spread through contact with an infected person’s feces, circulated because of crowding and poor hygiene among homeless people in Maricopa County.

While officials shared information about the outbreak with employees and users of the unidentified homeless facility, the Maricopa County Department of Public Health and Arizona Department of Health Services didn’t broadly notify the public about the outbreak.

Sally Ann Iverson, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention epidemic intelligence services officer assigned to Maricopa County and Arizona, said public health officials continued to monitor the outbreak, but have detected no new cases linked to the California outbreak.

In California, the illness has infected at least 568 people since November, mainly in San Diego, Santa Cruz and Los Angeles counties.

Public health officials say the Maricopa County outbreak was tied to one person who traveled from San Diego to Maricopa County earlier this year.

Follow-up testing confirmed the viral strain matched the San Diego cases and had spread mainly among people who used services from a homeless campus from mid-February through the end of May.

Despite the mini-outbreak among Maricopa County homeless people, Iverson said the county has not surpassed the number of hepatitis A cases it typically gets.

The county will continue to monitor for new cases and take appropriate actions to halt the disease, Iverson said.


Information from: The Arizona Republic, http://www.azcentral.com