Hepatitis A cases top 950 this year in Florida

A microscopic image of the Hepatitis Avirus, taken by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (CDC via CNN)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A hepatitis A outbreak continues to grow, with 70 cases reported last week in Florida, according to the state Department of Health website.

As of Saturday, 954 cases of the contagious liver disease had been reported in the state this year, compared to 549 cases in all of 2018 and 276 cases in 2017.

Health officials say the outbreak began last year, and 97 percent of the cases since Jan. 1, 2018, have likely been acquired in Florida.

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During that period, Pinellas County has had the most cases, with 319. Pinellas has been followed by Pasco County with 267 cases; Orange County with 179 cases; and Hillsborough County with 165 cases, according to the Department of Health website.

Hepatitis A 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 people to get vaccinated against the disease.