Hepatitis A cases continue to climb in the state of Florida

Florida had 51 hepatitis A cases reported last week, bringing the total number of cases this year to 3,079, as of Saturday.

Duval County had the largest number of newly reported cases last week with six, followed by Citrus County with four, according to a News Service of Florida analysis of weekly data from the Florida Department of Health.

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Pasco, Pinellas and Volusia counties, meanwhile, continue to lead the state in the overall numbers of reported hepatitis A infections with 407,377 and 276 cases, respectively. State Surgeon General Scott Rivkees, who doubles as secretary of the Department of Health, has stressed the importance of vaccinations in the state’s efforts to abate the spread of the virus.

The department reported that as of Saturday, 275,468 first-dose vaccinations had been administered, mostly by private health-care providers. County health departments had administered 41 percent of the total first-dose shots, according to department data.

Hepatitis A is a highly contagious virus that attacks the liver and can cause death. It is spread through such things as food or drinks that have been contaminated with fecal matter from people with hepatitis A, or from close contact with infected people.