Kensington gets public toilets to combat Hepatitis A crisis

Portable toilets at the beach.
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Philadelphia is paying for mobile public restrooms on Kensington Avenue to help combat the Hepatitis A crisis plaguing the neighborhood. 

Prevention Point manages the public toilets and wash sinks, ABC reported, and the facility seeks to target residents most vulnerable to Hepatitis A. 

Hepatitis A is common among the homeless and intravenous drug users, according to health officials. The virus has been a city-wide issue for some time, but it’s the most concentrated in the Kensington community. 

According to the CDC, Hepatitis A is “Hepatitis A is a vaccine-preventable, communicable disease of the liver caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV). It is usually transmitted person-to-person through the fecal-oral route or consumption of contaminated food or water. Hepatitis A is a self-limited disease that does not result in chronic infection.”  

The CDC also reported that some symptoms of Hepatitis A include low appetite, stomach pain, fatigue, nausea, and jaundice. The symptoms also usually, “resolve within 2 months of infection.”  

The public bathrooms may help decrease the risk of Hepatitis A, but health experts advise that the best way to prevent the disease is to get a vaccine. 

Kerri Hartnett from Prevention Point told ABC that, “It’s more than just helping people have access to a bathroom. It’s pointing them to necessary resources that will help them stay safe.” 

Additionally, Hartnett said, “We’re talking to people about how easy it is to get vaccinated and how to prevent it by hand washing and using the public restrooms.”

Some residents are welcoming the new addition, whereas others feel as if residents are abusing the facilities by vandalizing them.  

 

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