Are Portable Restroom Rentals a Silver Bullet for Hepatitis A Outbreaks?
By placing portable restroom rentals onsite in areas with homeless populations, Los Angeles can make an immediate impact on the spread of Hepatitis A. Have you heard about the recent hepatitis A outbreaks in California? The outbreaks began late last year in San Diego, and after smaller outbreaks in Michigan and Kentucky, the CDC advised all U.S. health jurisdictions to be watchful for the disease in August 2017. As you’ll see, we think portable restroom rentals can play a major role in controlling these outbreaks.
Hepatitis A is a highly contagious viral liver disease. There are several different ways that it can pass from one person to another, but in the current California outbreaks, many cases have been attributed to homeless people defecating in public spaces. Rain and wind can spread contaminated feces across nearby streets and sidewalks – and anyone who passes over a contaminated surface becomes at risk for contracting the infection.
A Quick History of Hepatitis A Outbreaks in 2017
Hepatitis A has long been recognized for its ability to cause rapid and explosive outbreaks in densely populated areas. The most famous outbreak occurred in Shanghai in 1988, with approximately 300,000 people being infected over about 2 months. The current outbreaks in California have not reached those epic levels, but they’re equally concerning because they are much, much closer to home.
The outbreaks began in San Diego county last November, and that county has been the hardest hit so far. It is unknown where the outbreak originated. Another outbreak was detected in Santa Cruz in early 2017, and Los Angeles County declared an outbreak in September.
California governor Jerry Brown declared a statewide state of emergency in October. The state is pushing hard for at-risk populations to be vaccinated against the disease, and the California Department of Public Health has already distributed 80,000 doses of the vaccine to affected areas. Officials have implemented an outreach campaign to administer the vaccine directly to homeless people in the field, but that campaign has had mixed results.
In San Diego and Los Angeles, officials have reported that contaminated feces in and around areas with large homeless populations has contributed to the spread of the disease. To date, California has 600 confirmed cases – with 395 hospitalizations and 18 deaths.
Stemming the Tide of the Hepatitis Outbreak in Los Angeles
Vaccines are undoubtedly the best way to prevent outbreaks of Hepatitis A. The current vaccine is 95% effective with one dose, and almost 100% effective with two doses. In the midst of an ongoing outbreak however, we believe that restroom rentals may be a silver bullet to help stem the tide and bring the outbreak under control.
Over the past year, Los Angeles has experienced a massive increase in homelessness, with about 50,000 homeless people currently living in the city. In the city’s infamous Skid Row, where more than 1,700 homeless people reside – there are 9 public toilets available. For reference, the United Nations standards for refugee camps require one toilet for every 20 people.
Obviously, the problem of sanitary services for the homeless population in Los Angeles is a serious problem. A permanent solution will no doubt require a significant effort and an equally significant budget. But there are some options the city can consider that offer immediate relief at this crucial time.
How Portable Restroom Rentals Can Help Control Hepatitis Outbreaks
By placing portable restroom rentals onsite in areas with homeless populations, Los Angeles can make an immediate impact on the spread of Hepatitis A. Contaminated feces are the most likely vector that could allow the disease to move from at-risk groups into the general population. Portable restroom rentals can effectively control this risk, and most importantly, they can control it instantly.
While traditional “porta-potty” style restroom rentals do not provide the level of sanitation that is required in this case, there are some very good options available. Modern portable restroom trailers offer a level of sanitation that is as good or better than public brick and mortar restrooms. They can provide hot water hand-washing capabilities. And, importantly, they can be connected directly to the municipal sewer grid, so that no handling is required to remove contaminated feces from affected areas.
Commercial-grade portable restroom trailers are constructed with durable materials that can stand up to heavy foot traffic. The floors and ceilings are built with a single sheet of sanitary material, allowing the entire unit to be washed and disinfected quickly and safely with pressurized equipment.
PRT’s Extensive Selection of Commercial-Grade Portable Restroom Rentals
PRT stocks a wide-ranging inventory of portable restroom rentals at all times. While we are best-known for our luxury and executive units, we have successfully partnered with cities, counties, and states around the country for years to accommodate large crowds during special events, natural disasters, and chemical and biological events.
Our inventory includes commercial-grade restrooms that are ideal for public deployment. And in addition to traditional restrooms, we have portable hand-washing stations, shower trailers, environmental decontamination units, ADA-compliant restrooms, and much more. If you work in an area that has been affected by the current hepatitis A outbreaks, or any other public health concern where portable restrooms rentals are required, get in touch with PRT today at (877) 600-8645. One of our trained representatives will help you evaluate your options, and explain each of our convenient and flexible financing options.