By NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

The Florida Department of Health saw an additional 40 outbreak hepatitis A (HAV) cases during the past week, bringing the total to 4,046 cases since Jan. 2018. This also puts the case tally for 2020 to over 100.

Image/CDC (cropped)

Health officials say the number of reported hepatitis A cases more than doubled from 2016 to 2017 and nearly doubled again in 2018 after remaining relatively stable in previous years. Case counts in 2019 saw an over 500% increase from 2018.

Duval and Polk counties have recorded the most cases during the first 3 weeks of the year with 12 and 10 cases, respectively.

Nationally, since the outbreaks were first identified in 2016, 32 states have reported 30,386 cases (61 percent requiring hospitalization) and 306 deaths.

The CDC says the hepatitis A vaccine is the best way to prevent HAV infection. The following groups are at highest risk for acquiring HAV infection or developing serious complications from HAV infection in these outbreaks and should be offered the hepatitis A vaccine in order to prevent or control an outbreak:

  • People who use drugs (injection or non-injection)
  • People experiencing unstable housing or homelessness
  • Men who have sex with men (MSM)
  • People who are currently or were recently incarcerated
  • People with chronic liver disease, including cirrhosis, hepatitis B, or hepatitis C