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Monday, March 30, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Crime/Public Safety

Spokane Health District confirms two hepatitis A-related deaths

UPDATED: Wed., Nov. 20, 2019

From staff reports

Two people died from complications related to hepatitis A in Spokane County this month, the health district announced Wednesday.

Both adults were living homeless and died from complications associated with their hepatitis A infections. So far, there are 61 cases of hepatitis A confirmed in Spokane County, and the Spokane Regional Health District has worked to administer vaccinations in recent months, partnering with organizations and shelters. The Washington State Department of Health declared a hepatitis A outbreak this summer. So far in Spokane County, the health district has administered more than 1,600 vaccines.

Hepatitis A is spread in primarily unsanitary conditions, when a person ingests contaminated particles in food, drink or even objects.

“Unfortunately, the population most at risk of hepatitis A exposure – those who are homeless or who use illicit drugs – are also more likely to have many other health issues,” Dr. Bob Lutz, district health officer, said in a news release. “When infected with hepatitis A, the illness is the final straw that results in hospitalization and possibly death.”

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