Widespread voluntary vaccinations have lead to a significant drop in the number of hepatitis A cases among Latino children in Southern California over the last few years.
California children do not have to get a hepatitis A shot to go to school. But most pediatricians and clinics vaccinate children against the disease as part of their battery of childhood immunizations.
A 91% drop in hepatitis A cases among Latino children occurred in Orange County from 2000 to 2002, while Los Angeles County recorded a 69% drop in 2001. State officials expect the number of adult with hepatitis will outnumber children for the first time when the data for 2002 is tabulated.
Latino children traditionally have had the highest hepatitis A rates because they are more likely to live in crowded conditions that help spread the disease and to bring the disease back to their homes if they travel to Mexico to visit relatives.
Other sources: Los Angeles Times