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State probes hepatitis A outbreak

“This is CSI-level investigation that has to be done.”

Flanked by lawmakers and Martin County officials, Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nunez said Friday the state “will leave no stone unturned” as it investigates a hepatitis A outbreak.

Florida reported 690 cases of the disease between Jan. 1 and March 31, with the number of cases steadily increasing each month since April 2018, according to the Florida Department of Health website.

The Martin County Health Department this week confirmed 19 cases in the county and three deaths associated with complications of the contagious liver disease.

The disease can be spread through such things as food or drinks that have been contaminated with fecal matter from people with hepatitis A, according to the Martin County Health Department website.

Nunez and other officials urged people to get vaccinated against the disease.

“Getting vaccinated is the single most important action people that are at risk can take in order to avoid getting hepatitis A,” Nunez said.

The lieutenant governor was joined at the news conference by officials such as Senate Health Policy Chairwoman Gayle Harrell of Stuart, House Health Care Appropriations Chairwoman MaryLynn Magar of Tequesta, Palm City Rep. Toby Overdorf and U.S. Rep. Brian Mast. The state Department of Health is working with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to investigate the outbreak.

“This is CSI-level investigation that has to be done,” Harrell said.

The News Service of Florida provides journalists, lobbyists, government officials and other civic leaders with comprehensive, objective information about the activities of state government year-round.

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