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Florida health officials reported an additional 70 hepatitis A cases during the past week, bringing the number of cases in 2019 to 954 and more than 1500 cases since the beginning of last year.

Image/FDOH

Pinellas, Pasco, Orange and Hillsborough counties continue to reported the most cases accounting for some 62 percent of outbreak cases in the state.

The number of cases in 2019 to date (954) is more than the whole of 2016 -2018 (947).

The classic symptom of hepatitis A is jaundice, which is a yellowing of the skin or the eyes. Other symptoms include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, joint pain, dark urine and clay-colored stools. Symptoms develop 15-50 days after exposure to the virus.

Vaccination is the best way to prevent hepatitis A infection.

In addition, health officials advise to wash your hands after you use the bathroom—alcohol-based hand sanitizers do not kill hepatitis A germs. Use soap and warm, running water and wash for at least 20 seconds.

WASH BEFORE YOU: prepare food or work with food that isn’t already packaged.

WASH AFTER YOU: use the bathroom; touch people or public surfaces; change a diaper; cough, sneeze or use a tissue; use tobacco; and eat or drink.