Hepatitis watch: People of Central Florida, we are begging you to wash your hands after you use the toilet


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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.

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 Aug. 17 are:

Volusia: 34
Brevard: 23
Manatee: 21
Pinellas: 21
Pasco: 19
Lee: 16

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.

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 ingestion of fecal matter.

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:


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