SPOKANE, Wash. — There are three cases of Hepatitis A reported in Spokane. It's a serious liver infection caused by the Hepatitis A virus.
Spokane Regional Health District officials said the infection is caused by poor hygienic conditions, and is affecting people who are homeless.
Doctor Bob Lutz with the health district said ensuring access to sanitary facilities is essential to limit the disease.
One Spokane city leader responded to the outbreak with a post on Facebook.
Council member Kate Burke suggests the city needs more public facilities to address and even prevent further outbreaks.
"I believe that we need more facilities for people to wash their hands and body to make sure our community health overall is up," Burke said.
She gave Portland Loo as an example. The Portland company created stand alone public toilet stall and hand washing station. The walls are graffiti proof and built with materials that are easily replaced.
Burke said something like this, or even taking it another step by building a community center would address sanitary concerns in the community.
"Hepatitis A is something that is completely preventable, and having a sanitary place to wash your body and hands is really essential to the needs of our community members," Burke said. "I have talked to businesses, and this is something they struggle with. They don't necessarily want a bunch of people coming in and using their bathrooms. But if you look at it and there's nowhere else to go, that's an injustice we're providing our community."
Her idea has not yet gained support from all city council members, but she says it's an effort worth making.