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Important information on Hepatitis A for gardeners
- September 9, 2019 at 2:59 pm #217949
Hi all, I want to pass on some important information that the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society compiled about precautions to take while working in soil in cities. See below:
Dear gardeners and tree tenders,
Digging in the soil, planting, weeding, removing mulch volcanoes are healthy activities for our planet and for us physically and emotionally. That said, as with most activities, safety must be considered. Soil in urban areas can contain undesirable elements. Lead, dog waste, and broken glass come to mind readily but there are other potential urban soil dangers, while not as common, too serious to ignore. As mentioned in recent news, [link to: https://whyy.org/articles/hepatitis-a-is-spreading-through-poop-on-the-streets-philly-is-betting-public-bathrooms-can-stem-the-outbreak/%5D, the City declared a public health emergency to address rise in Hepatitis A in Kensington. The Department of Health says that in general they consider gardening and soil exposure to be very low risk for exposure to Hepatitis A but there could be risk if the gardening were being done in an area of the city where large numbers of homeless congregate and Hepatitis infection is circulating. Currently, that is occurring only in Kensington, where two Tree Tenders contracted Hepatits A. Both have recovered and we would like to avoid other cases so asked the Department of Health for information to share with you.
Here are precautions that should be taken when gardening or Tree Tending in the city:
• Always wash hands with soap and water after contact with soil.
• Wear Rubber Gloves, not thin latex doctor’s gloves, they offer more protection than cloth gloves.
• Always look first before putting your hands into the soil. If there are hazards remove them with a shovel.
• Ingesting contaminated soil could increase risk of exposure. Watering soil might decrease the risk as it helps avoid dust.
• Additional guides for healthy gardening in urban soils:
More information on Hepatitis A:
• People can seek Hepatitis A vaccine from their healthcare provider or a pharmacy (http://www.hepcap.org/community-tools/pharmacy-vaccine-maps/)
• For local updates and guidance for clinical providers, visit the Philadelphia Health Information Portal at http://www.phila.gov/Health/.
• Frequently asked questions about Hepatits A: https://www.phila.gov/2019-08-01-frequently-asked-questions-about-hepatitis-a/
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