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Hepatitis A cases continue to climb

Health officials have urged Floridians to get vaccinated against the disease.

The number of hepatitis A cases in Florida continues to climb, with 72 new hepatitis A cases reported to the state last week.

The latest numbers reported by the Florida Department of Health bring the total number of reported cases this year to 2,266. Volusia County, with 12 cases, leads the state in the number of new cases reported for the most recent week, which ended Aug. 17.

The latest report brings the county’s total number of hepatitis A cases to 208.

Nearby Brevard County reported eight new hepatitis A cases to the state this week, bringing the total number of cases in the county to 85. Pasco County, which had one new case reported in the last week, has more hepatitis A cases — 374 — than any other county in the state. Pinellas County had four new cases reported this week, bringing the total number of hepatitis A cases in the county to 344.

Hepatitis A, which can cause liver damage, can be spread through such things as food or drinks that have been contaminated with fecal matter from people with the disease.

Health officials have urged Floridians to get vaccinated against the disease.

On Aug. 1, Department of Health Secretary Scott Rivkees declared a public health emergency related to the hepatitis A outbreak, “as a proactive step to appropriately alert the public to this serious illness and prevent further spread of hepatitis A in our state.”

The latest report shows 6,400 doses of the vaccine have been administered.

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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