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Florida Hepatitis Cases Continue To Climb

An electron micrograph of the Hepatitis A virus (HAV), an RNA virus that can survive up to a month at room temperature.
Betty Partin
An electron micrograph of the Hepatitis A virus (HAV), an RNA virus that can survive up to a month at room temperature.

News Service of Florida

The number of hepatitis A cases reported to the state Department of Health continues to rise, with the latest data showing that 82 cases were reported between June 30 and July 6. 

In all, Florida has had 1,811 cases this year, which is more than the total number of cases reported in all of 2018, according to state health officials. Meanwhile, the latest monthly report shows that 355 cases of hepatitis A were reported during the month of June.

The infection rate is highest among 30-39 year-olds. The number of people with the virus has grown over the last six months, with cases reported in 52 of the state’s 67 counties. Florida health officials last week announced that the state is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to increase efforts to stop the spread of the virus.

According to the Department of Health, the partnership will assist the state’s “vaccination outreach.” Hepatitis A is a highly contagious liver infection, with effects ranging from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe illness lasting several months. According to the CDC website, hepatitis A usually spreads when a person ingests the virus from objects, food, or drinks contaminated by small, undetected amounts of feces from an infected person.

Vaccination is the best way to prevent hepatitis A infection, and health officials are “actively working to vaccinate those most at risk” for the virus, according to information posted on the Department of Health website. The vaccine requires two doses given six months apart. More than 3,400 doses of the vaccine were administered between June 30 and July 6, according to the website.

Copyright 2019 Health News Florida

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