Hepatitis A outbreak nears 1,900 cases

With the largest numbers of cases concentrated in Pasco, Pinellas and Volusia counties, Florida has had about 1,900 reported cases of hepatitis A this year, according to new numbers from the Florida Department of Health.

The state added 85 cases last week, bringing the total to 1,898 cases this year. The hardest-hit areas have been in the Tampa Bay region and in parts of the Interstate 4 corridor.

Pasco County has had 350 cases, followed by Pinellas County with 312 cases and Volusia County with 165 cases. Three other counties also have topped 100 cases: Orange County, with 136; Hillsborough County, with 110; and Marion County, with 104, the numbers show. In all, 53 of the 67 counties have reported hepatis A cases this year.

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.