Florida has reported nearly three times as many cases of hepatitis A in 2019 as it did in 2018. Last week alone, 77 new cases were reported.

“The virus spreads through the feces (poop) of people who have the virus. If a person with the virus doesn’t wash his or her hands after going to the bathroom, feces can transfer to objects, food, drinks or drugs. When these things are shared, other people can unknowingly swallow the virus. If a person who has the virus comes in close contact with others—like during sex—the virus can also spread,” according to The Florida Department of Health website.

Graphic courtesy Florida Department of Health

As of June 22, 2019, Pasco County continued to report the most cases in the state with 314, while Hernando County had 73. Citrus County had 19 cases, Pinellas County had 287 cases, Hillsborough County had 103 cases, the numbers show.

Hepatitis A infection is a vaccine-preventable illness. Please contact your local health department to find out where to go for free vaccinations.

There is a difference in how Hepatitis A, B and C spread.

According to the United States Department of Health:

-Hepatitis A is caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV). The virus is found in the stool (feces) of HAV-infected people. Hepatitis A can easily spread from one person to another by putting something in the mouth (even though it may look clean) that has been contaminated with the stool of a person with hepatitis A. This can happen when people do not wash their hands after using the toilet and then touch or prepare other people’s food.

-Hepatitis B is caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). The virus is found in blood and certain body fluids. Hepatitis B is spread when a person who is not immune comes in contact with blood or body fluid from an infected person. Hepatitis B is spread by having sex with an infected person without a condom, sharing needles or “works” when “shooting” drugs, needlesticks or sharps exposures in a health care setting, or from an infected mother to her baby during vaginal birth. Exposure to blood in ANY situation can be a risk for transmission.

-Hepatitis C is caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV). The virus is found in blood and certain body fluids. It is spread when a person who is not immune comes in contact with blood or body fluids from an infected person. Hepatitis C is spread through sharing needles or “works” when “shooting” drugs, through needlestick or sharps exposures in a health care setting, or sometimes from an infected mother to her baby during vaginal birth. It is possible to get hepatitis C from sex, but it is uncommon.”