Hepatitis A outbreak adds 82 cases in Florida

Florida's hepatitis A outbreak continues, with 2,349 cases reported this year and 82 cases reported last week, state Department of Health numbers show.

Pasco County led the state with 377 cases reported as of Saturday, followed by Pinellas County with 349 cases and Volusia County with 215 cases. Dixie County, meanwhile, had its first reported case of hepatitis A last week.

That brings to 57 the number of counties that have reported at least one case of the virus this year. The 10 counties without cases are largely rural.

A News Service of Florida analysis of the data shows that Brevard and Volusia counties had the largest increases in the number of cases last week, each with seven.

Lee and Lake counties each had six new reported cases. State Surgeon General Scott Rivkees, who doubles as secretary of the Department of Health, issued a public health emergency Aug. 1 that warned about the spread of the virus and encouraged citizens to get vaccinated.

The department said 7,850 first doses of the vaccine were administered last week, with 35 percent done at county health departments.

The virus can be spread through such things as food or drinks that have been contaminated with fecal matter from people with hepatitis A. The virus affects the liver and can lead to liver disease.