Florida’s hep A cases still rising, Tampa Bay counties largely to blame

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PASCO COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – New information from the Florida Department of Health is showing the major role some Bay area counties have in Florida’s hepatitis A outbreak.

As of Sept. 7, Florida had 49 newly-reported cases of hepatitis A, bringing the total number of cases this year to 2,460.

With three months left in 2019, reported cases are more than four times what they were in all of 2018, which only had 548 confirmed cases.

The five counties with the largest number of hepatitis A cases this year were:

  • Pasco County, with 384
  • Pinellas County, with 350
  • Volusia County, with 218
  • Orange County, with 157
  • Hillsborough County, with 131

According to the Department of Health, county health departments have administered 82,875 vaccinations while private locations – such as CVS and health providers – have administered 121,667 vaccinations. That’s a total of 204,542 vaccinations so far in 2019.

On Aug, 1, Florida Surgeon General Dr. Scott Rivkees declared a public health emergency due to the significant increase in hep A cases.

“I am declaring this public health emergency as a proactive step to appropriately alert the public to this serious illness and prevent further spread of hepatitis A in our state,” Dr. Rivkees said. “The best way to prevent hepatitis A is through vaccination. It is important that we vaccinate as many high-risk individuals as possible in order to achieve herd immunity. I will continue to work with Governor DeSantis and Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nuñez to take proactive steps to protect the health of Florida’s residents and visitors.”

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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