Outside of the Milan, IL McDonald’s, the one place where you really should not be unless you have a Hepatitis A vaccine is Imperial Beach, CA.

That’s because northbound ocean currents funnel the polluted water from the Tijuana River into the Imperial Beach surf.  To say that the Mexican waters are polluted is to put it mildly.   In addition to the usual sewage and garbage debris there are all the elements of Mexico’s lively drug trade, including all those used needles and broken vials. 

A 2007 survey by the nonprofit environmental group Wildcoast found that 60 percent of regular ocean users at Imperial Beach suffered from illnesses caused by water contamination.

In part of because of that study and past volunteer efforts, public health workers were on the beach Saturday offering free Hepatitis A vaccines to surfers and swimmers alike.  San Diego State University studies have shown Hepatitis A is present in 80 percent of water samples taken from the beach.