Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr. of California declared on Friday a state of emergency due to a hepatitis outbreak that has taken at least 18 lives. With the declaration, state health officials can buy additional doses of the hepatitis A vaccine to try to stop the outbreak. "We have the capacity to use as much vaccine as we can get our hands on," said Gil Chavez, MD, state epidemiologist with the California Department of Public Health. The outbreak started in San Diego's homeless community in late 2016; but it has since spread to other areas, including Los Angeles and Santa Cruz counties. Nearly 600 people in the state have already been infected in the outbreak, with more than one-half ending up in the hospital. State health officials have already distributed 81,000 doses of the hepatitis A vaccine this year, and some counties have purchased their own additional vaccines separately. The governor's emergency declaration permits them to be able to buy more vaccine directly from manufacturers to increase their supply, according to Chavez. Federal health officials said recently that even with the efforts to stem the spread of the disease, the outbreak could last years.