Hepatitis A cases continue climbing

Another 90 cases of hepatitis A were reported to the Florida Department of Health during the final week of June, bringing the number of cases this year to more than 1,700, figures posted on the department website show.

In all, Florida has had 1,718 cases this year --- and 2,266 since the beginning of 2018. The state report shows that 50 of the 67 counties had reported at least one case of hepatitis A this year as of Saturday.

Pasco and Pinellas counties led the state with 329 and 296 reported cases, respectively. Next highest was Volusia County, which has seen a surge in cases and had 141 as of Saturday. The state only is tracking the reported infections for residents.

The total this year is a huge increase over previous years, with 548 reported cases in all of 2018 and 276 cases in 2017.

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.