State Audit Details County, City Failures in Responding and Containing Hepatitis A Outbreak

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Gloria’s State Audit of City, County Response to Hepatitis A Shows Weak Planning, Lack of Urgency to Contain Spread

SAN DIEGO, CA – A state audit requested by California State Assemblymember Todd Gloria (D-San Diego) on the City and County of San Diego’s response to the March 2017 Hepatitis A outbreak shows city and county leaders could have acted more quickly and efficiently to contain the spread of the disease.

While I am still evaluating the extremely thorough report from the State Auditor, one thing is clear: lives could have been saved,” said Assemblymember Todd Gloria. “We now know that the County and the City could have planned better and acted sooner to contain the spread of this disease. Unfortunately, that was not done until it was too late. I will continue to pour over the audit’s findings in the coming weeks and I intend to propose solutions to ensure this never, ever happens again.”

The audit, released today, found the County of San Diego failed to plan or quickly implement important aspects of its response to the Hepatitis A outbreak – specifically, administering vaccines early on to those at-risk, determining the number of key resources needed to carry out the vaccination program (including vaccines and nursing staff), and timelines to administering vaccines. The audit points out that had the County accelerated its vaccination efforts, they could have reduced the risk of the disease spreading.

Other key findings include:

  • The City and County did not promptly implement solutions to improve sanitation and hygiene conditions for the at-risk populations in the City – namely, homeless individuals and drug users.
  • The County did not promptly share location data to inform the City about the concentration of cases within its jurisdiction. This would have allowed the City to better target public health resources.

Assemblymember Gloria requested the State Auditor conduct this audit in May. Gloria asked the Auditor to help determine whether both the City and County identified, contained, and treated the Hepatitis A outbreak properly. The Hepatitis A outbreak began in San Diego County in March 2017. It claimed the lives of 20 people and infected 584 people.  

The full audit can be accessed online here.