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By The Numbers: Florida's Hepatitis A outbreak

There’s a Hepatitis A outbreak spreading across the nation, and Tampa Bay is one of the hardest-hit areas in the state of Florida.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — There’s a Hepatitis A outbreak spreading across the nation, and Tampa Bay is one of the hardest-hit areas in the state of Florida. 

Hepatitis A is a preventable liver disease that’s transmitted through contact with food, drinks or other objects contaminated by small amounts of feces from an infected person.


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Hepatitis A was first differentiated from Hepatitis B in the 1940’s. 

It wasn’t until 1995 that the first Hepatitis A vaccine hit the market, and that vaccine made a huge impact as Hepatitis A rates went down by more than 95% after the vaccine became available.


According to the Florida Department of Health, Hepatitis A cases in the state have been skyrocketing, going from relatively stable numbers three years ago, to more than doubling from 2016 to 2017. 

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr 2018 2019 to date Hepatitis A Surveillance Systems Summary Case Data * Current case data are preliminary and will change as new information is gathered. The most recent data available are displayed in this report.

It has again almost doubled in 2018. The number of reported cases for 2019 has already well surpassed that of all of last year, and it’s only May!

Since January of 2018, more than 1,500 cases of Hepatitis A have been reported in Florida, and the Tampa Bay area has been the hardest-hit. Pinellas County leads the state in reported cases over that time period with 319, Pasco County is second with 267 cases, Orange County is third with 179 cases and Hillsborough County is fourth with 165 cases. 

Click here for a county by county breakdown of Hepatitis A cases from 1/1/18 through 4/27/19.


The vaccine is effective and can even be administered up to two weeks after a patient is exposed to the virus. Aside from vaccination, regular and thorough hand-washing is the best way to protect yourself and prevent the spread of the disease.

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