Countywide : 200 Disabled People Due to Get Hepatitis A Vaccine


Health officials plan to vaccinate about 200 developmentally disabled people against hepatitis A next week at clinics in Orange, Anaheim and Mission Viejo in an effort to contain an outbreak that has struck up to 20 people.

The county has about enough vaccine to inoculate people who are not immune to hepatitis A and have been temporarily removed from jobs in which there is a risk of spreading the disease, said Hildy Meyers, an epidemiologist for the Orange County Health Care Agency. More doses of the vaccine have been ordered.

Last week, the agency issued work restrictions ordering developmentally disabled people who have had contact with others in community care settings to stop working as food handlers until they can prove immunity through a blood test. The order also covers people employed as caretakers for youngsters or the elderly.


The first doses of vaccine will be administered Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, Meyers said. After two weeks, if a person can demonstrate immunity, he or she may return to work, Meyers said.

The work restrictions, issued last Friday, came in response to reports that up to 17 people had developed hepatitis A in the developmentally disabled community. Since then, two other probable cases and one possible case have surfaced, Meyers said.

One of the probable cases is that of a staff member working with developmentally disabled clients, the first such case to be reported in the outbreak. The work restrictions, so far, have not applied to non-developmentally disabled people.

Hepatitis A, which can cause nausea, vomiting, yellowing of the skin and other symptoms, is a virus affecting the liver.