Florida’s Hepatitis A Outbreak Grows By 55 Cases
Florida had 55 new hepatitis A cases reported last week, bringing the total number of cases this year to 2,847 as of Saturday, according to Department of Health data.
Brevard and Volusia counties led the state in the number of newly reported cases last week, with eight each, a News Service of Florida analysis of the data shows.
That brought the number of hepatitis A cases in Volusia County to 259 and Brevard County to 128, respectively. Other counties with the highest number of newly reported cases last week included Lake County, with six cases, and Sarasota County, with five.
That brought the number of cases this year in Lake County to 145 and Sarasota County to 80. Nine counties had not reported any cases of hepatitis A this year: Baker, Bradford, Calhoun, Gadsden, Gulf, Highlands, Holmes, Jefferson and Lafayette. Pasco and Pinellas counties continued to lead the state, with 397 and 371 cases, respectively. Volusia County was third highest. Only Florida residents are included in the case counts released by the state.
The data includes suspected and confirmed cases. The virus can be transmitted through sexual contact and through fecal matter. That can include transmission by people not properly washing their hands after going to the bathroom.
Department of Health Secretary Scott Rivkees issued a public-health emergency for hepatitis A in August and encouraged vaccination, especially for people considered at risk or vulnerable to the virus once infected. Rivkees, who doubles as state surgeon general, said at-risk populations include homeless people and drug users. According to the latest available data a total of 251,952 vaccinations have been administered this year, with county health departments administering roughly 41 percent of the vaccinations.