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Infectious-disease outbreaks now a serious problem for Seattle homeless

The King County board of health approved a resolution calling for better hygiene services to fight the spread of outbreaks.

SEATTLE — The King County board of Health approved a resolution calling for hygiene services to combat outbreaks of serious infectious diseases among people who are homeless in Seattle and throughout King County.

Seattle-King County Public Health is investigating outbreaks of Group A Streptococcus, shigella, and a rare group of infections transmitted by body lice among people who are homeless.

Health officials also are monitoring a potential outbreak of hepatitis A, a potentially fatal disease that spread in San Diego.

At a meeting on Thursday night, Seattle officials described efforts to increase toilets, hot water and hand-washing stations at the city's six sanctioned encampments, and to bring hand-washing kits to the city's many unsanctioned camps.