Hepatitis A Cases Near 2,800 This Year

Oct 16, 2019

Florida had 53 newly reported hepatitis A cases last week, bringing the total number of cases this year to 2,791 as of Saturday, numbers from the state Department of Health show. 

The areas with the biggest upticks last week were Volusia and Citrus counties, which had an additional seven and five cases, respectively, according to a running News Service of Florida analysis of the weekly data.

That brought the total number of cases this year in Volusia and Citrus counties to 251 and 76, respectively. Pasco County, which leads the state in hepatitis A cases, had just one new case reported last week, bringing its total to 398.

Nearby Pinellas County, which has had 369 cases this year, did not report any additional cases last week. Florida Surgeon General Scott Rivkees issued a Public Health Emergency in August to address the massive increase in hepatitis A cases in Florida over the past year.

Hepatitis A is a virus that affects the liver and can be deadly. It is spread through such things as food or drinks that have been contaminated with fecal matter from people with hepatitis A, or from close contact with infected people.

It also can be spread through sex and intravenous drug use. Rivkees has used $3 million to hire additional workers to help provide vaccinations to at-risk populations in an effort to stop the spread of the virus.

The at-risk populations include homeless people and drug users. Rivkees’ goal is to vaccinate 80 percent of the at-risk populations, or about 392,000 people. The latest data shows that 243,905 people have been vaccinated in 2019.