Hepatitis A cases continue escalating throughout Florida

With cases popping up in various parts of the state, Florida had 92 cases of hepatitis A reported last week --- bringing the total this year to 1,312, according to information posted on the state Department of Health website.

Cases were reported last week in counties ranging from Miami-Dade to Escambia, with heavy concentrations continuing in the Tampa Bay area and Central Florida. The number of hepatitis A cases more than doubled from 2016 to 2017 and then nearly doubled again in 2018 to 548 cases, according to the Department of Health. But the total during the first five months of 2019 has dwarfed those years.

The disease, 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.

As of Saturday, Pinellas County had reported the most cases this year, with 254. It was followed by Pasco County, with 248 cases; Orange County, with 109 cases; Hillsborough County, with 97 cases; and Volusia County, with 93 cases.

The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.