Hepatitis A cases top 400 this year in Florida

With the addition of 29 cases last week, Florida has topped 400 reported hepatitis A cases this year.

As of Saturday, the state reported 404 cases in 2020, according to state Department of Health numbers. While the state appears poised to have substantially more cases than in most years, it is not on a pace to match the 2019 total, which hit 3,395 during a major outbreak.

Totals in earlier years included 123 cases in 2015, 122 cases in 2016, 276 cases in 2017 and 548 cases in 2018.

State Surgeon General Scott Rivkees, who doubles as secretary of the Department of Health, issued a public health emergency in August that warned about the spread of hepatitis A and encouraged citizens to get vaccinated and wash their hands. Hepatitis A, which causes liver damage, is spread through such things as fecal matter, sexual contact and intravenous drug use.

This year, the largest number of reported cases has been in Duval County, with 88 as of Saturday. Duval was followed by Volusia County, with 38 cases, and Brevard County, with 27 cases.

The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.