Hepatitis A cases top 3,100 this year in Florida

Florida had 47 newly reported hepatitis A cases last week, bringing the total this year to 3,125 as of Saturday. Volusia County led the state in newly reported cases last week with five, followed by Polk County with four, according to a News Service of Florida analysis of state data.

Pasco and Pinellas counties continue to lead the state in the number of infections, with 408 and 377, respectively. However, there were no new infections reported last week in Pinellas County and only one new case in Pasco. The 47 new cases were spread across 28 counties.

Hepatitis A is a virus that affects the liver and can be deadly. It is spread through such things as food or drinks that have been contaminated with fecal matter from people with hepatitis A, or from close contact with infected people. It also can be spread through sex and intravenous drug use.

State Surgeon General Scott Rivkees, who doubles as secretary of the Department of Health, issued a public-health emergency for hepatitis A in August and encouraged vaccinations, especially for people considered at risk. Between Nov. 17 and Saturday, 5,895 first doses of hepatitis A vaccine were administered to adults, according to the state.

Forty-nine percent of the shots last week were administered by county health departments. In all, about 42 percent of the 283,983 vaccinations delivered in 2019 were administered by county health departments.

© 2019 The News Service of Florida.