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Hepatitis A cases top 350 this year in Florida

This year, Duval County has had the most reported hepatitis A cases

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

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – While the state grapples with the novel coronavirus, it also continues to see increasing cases of hepatitis A.

Florida reported 30 new cases of hepatitis A last week, bringing this year’s total to 356 as of Saturday, according to the state Department of Health website.

Florida had a large outbreak of hepatitis A in 2019, when 3,396 cases were reported. By comparison, the state had 548 cases in 2018 and 276 cases in 2017.

State Surgeon General Scott Rivkees, who doubles as secretary of the Department of Health, issued a public health emergency in August that warned about the spread of hepatitis A and encouraged citizens to get vaccinated and wash their hands.

Hepatitis A, which causes liver damage, is spread through such things as fecal matter, sexual contact and intravenous drug use.

In 2020, Duval County has had the most reported hepatitis A cases, with 79 as of Saturday, according to the Department of Health data.

Duval County was followed by Volusia County, with 32 cases; Brevard County, with 23 cases; Clay County, with 18 cases; and Polk County, with 17 cases.