California Governor Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency to combat a hepatitis A outbreak that has killed 18 people in San Diego.

Brown said Friday that the proclamation would allow the state to increase its supply of vaccines. The state can now purchase vaccines directly from manufacturers and distribute them.

California is experiencing the largest hepatitis A outbreak in the United States transmitted from person to person — instead of by contaminated food — since the vaccine became available in 1996.

There have been 576 cases reported throughout California, the vast majority in San Diego




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