PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA)- Hepatitis A disrupted businesses across Tampa Bay this summer, but the epidemic hasn’t gone away, and local health department officials are still making rounds throughout the area with the vaccine in tow.
Pinellas County officials have administered nearly 800 vaccines since the number of cases skyrocketed in May. Pasco county has also followed suit in an attempt to eliminate the public health emergency.
Though confirmed cases in Pinellas are now down to 6 from its peak in March of 66, Pasco and Pinellas counties had— and still have— the highest numbers of cases in the state at 402 and 375 respectively.
Since January 2018, Florida has recorded 3,518 cases of hepatitis A. Nearly 3,000 of those were recorded in 2019, according to the Florida Department of Health.
The virus— which spreads through contaminated feces — affects the liver and causes symptoms like fever, dark urine, yellow-tinged skin or eyes, fatigue and gastric issues.
It can be passed by eating or drinking tainted food or water, which was cause for concernin the summer when various restaurants and eateries like Ulele and Ferg’s in Tampa Bay were confirmed locations for the virus.
Between Oct. 27, 2019 and Nov. 2, 2019, county health departments administered 1,993 of the total 4,366 first doses of hepatitis A vaccine administered to adults.
So far this year, county health departments have administered 110,820 vaccinations and non-health department related companies — such as CVS— have administered 154,670 vaccinations for a total of 265,490 vaccinations.
Still public health officials are urging people to get the vaccine if they haven’t already, and to keep their hands clean as much as possible.
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