Florida

Hepatitis A outbreak keeps growing in Florida. Manatee County among hardest hit

ABCs of hepatitis: What’s the difference between A, B, and C?

Hepatitis is a disease characterized by inflammation of the liver. It comes in many forms, including hepatitis A, B and C. But what do those letter designations mean, and how do they differ from one another?
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Hepatitis is a disease characterized by inflammation of the liver. It comes in many forms, including hepatitis A, B and C. But what do those letter designations mean, and how do they differ from one another?

The number of hepatitis A cases in Florida continues to climb, according to a Florida Department of Health report that showed the state has had 2,266 reported cases this year. Manatee County has had the seventh-highest number of cases among the state’s 67 counties.

An outbreak of the virus, which can cause liver damage, started in 2018 and has exploded this year in parts of the state, such as in the Tampa Bay region and areas of Central Florida. Other parts of the state, such as rural counties across North Florida, have seen few cases.

In the past month, Manatee County tied with Pinellas for the third-highest number of new cases reported. There have been 103 cases reported in Manatee this year. There have been 44 reported cases in Sarasota County; 122 in Hillsborough; and 344 in Pinellas.

On Aug. 1, state Surgeon General Scott Rivkees declared a public emergency “as a proactive step to appropriately alert the public to this serious illness and prevent further spread of Hepatitis A in our state.” Rivkees encouraged people to be vaccinated against the virus, which is spread through oral injection or fecal matter.

The News Service of Florida has analyzed the Department of Health data posted over the last four weeks. The analysis found that the six counties with the highest number of reported hepatitis A cases between July 23 and August 17 are:

Volusia: 34

Brevard : 23

Manatee: 21

Pinellas: 21

Pasco: 19

Lee: 16

Here are the number of cases reported in 2019 in counties throughout the state:

Pasco: 374

Pinellas: 344

Volusia: 208

Orange: 150

Hillsborough: 122

Marion: 113

Manatee: 103

Hernando: 101

Lake: 98

Brevard: 85

Lee: 54

Palm Beach: 54

Sarasota: 44

Seminole: 40

Citrus: 39

Martin: 33

St. Lucie: 33

Sumter: 31

Polk: 31

Osceola: 30

Miami-Dade: 27

Charlotte: 17

Broward: 13

Santa Rosa: 13

Duval: 9

Okeechobee: 9

Indian River: 8

Levy: 7

Bay: 6

St. Johns: 6

Alachua: 5

Flagler: 5

Okaloosa: 5

Taylor: 5

Collier: 4

Jackson: 4

Clay: 3

Columbia: 3

Escambia: 3

Leon: 3

Nassau: 3

DeSoto: 2

Glades: 2

Hendry: 2

Putnam: 2

Wakulla: 2

Walton: 2

Franklin: 1

Gilchrist: 1

Hamilton: 1

Hardee: 1

Liberty: 1

Madison: 1

Suwannee: 1

Monroe: 1

Washington: 1

The 11 counties with no reported cases of hepatitis A are:

Baker

Bradford

Calhoun

Dixie

Gadsden

Gulf

Highlands

Holmes

Jefferson

Lafayette

Union

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