Despite rising hepatitis A rates, Florida public-health programs have been lauded by a national group.
Thirteen Florida county health departments were included in the National Association of County and City Health Officials’ list of winners for innovative public health programs.
The Pinellas County Health Department was recognized for the “HPV Ambassador Program” which aims to increase vaccinations to prevent the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus. The Hillsborough County Health Department was recognized for initiatives to address obesity.
In all, 53 health departments across the nation were recognized for developing effective programs that can be replicated in other areas. The recognition for the Florida health departments comes as the state grapples with a growing number of hepatitis A cases.
As of the end of April, 989 hepatitis A cases had been reported in Florida. According to the state, 96 percent of the people infected had not received the hepatitis A vaccine.
Hepatitis A is a communicable disease usually transmitted person-to-person through ingesting fecal matter through such things as contaminated food or water.