San Diego suffering hepatitis outbreak because city is smothered in poop
San Diego has a pretty shitty problem — the city has become so riddled with dookie that an outbreak of Hepatitis A has now killed 17 people and hospitalized nearly 300.
The county deemed downtown San Diego a “fecally contaminated environment,” and has given the city five days to come up with a plan to remedy the poo-plague.
Microbiologists say the only known way to spread Hepatitis A infection is by accidentally ingesting a small amount of an infected person’s feces. To avoid tainting their hands with contaminated poo, the city’s inhabitants have become increasingly wary of using public restrooms, choosing a seat on the trolley, or touching any handrails and doorknobs.
The problem stems from a lack of public restrooms, which compels the homeless population to find more creative ways to relieve themselves. City officials are now taking steps toward sanitation to decrease the amount of human waste that ends up on the city’s streets, sidewalks and public spaces.
Efforts began with streets and sidewalks being power-washed. But experts complained this isn’t enough.
Anne Rios, director of Think Dignity, an advocacy group that provides mobile showers and other sanitary services for the homeless, told the San Diego Union Tribune, “Unless they’re going to power wash them every day, this isn’t going to solve the problem.”
Now, 40 hand-washing stations have been installed in areas where the homeless often gather. Access to public restrooms is being expanded.
In the past, attempts to offer more access to public toilets have failed miserably. The restrooms closest to homeless population’s most heavily-populated tent cities are overrun by the number of people using them. The facilities quickly run out of supplies and become filthy cesspools as no one makes an effort to maintain them. Recently, the city also invested half a million dollars in portable public toilets, but that effort ended after crime significantly increased in the surrounding area.
Citizens of San Diego are hopeful that the scourge of Hepatitis A will subside as city and county officials scramble to scrub the town of its excrement.