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Hepatitis A cases continue to mount

Duval County led the state with 156 cases as of a June 13 count

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. – Florida had 56 cases of hepatitis A during the first three weeks of June, bringing its total to 661 this year, according to new data posted on the state Department of Health website.

The pace of cases is slower than in 2019, when a major outbreak led to 3,411 reported hepatitis A cases. But it far exceeds previous years.

The state, for example, had 123 cases in 2015; 122 cases in 2016; 276 cases in 2017; and 548 cases in 2018, Department of Health numbers show.

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.

The 661 cases this year had been reported as of Saturday.

Duval County led the state with 156 cases as of a June 13 count, while Volusia County had 58 cases and Brevard County had 47 cases, according to the Department of Health.