Senators Get Briefed On Hepatitis A - WUSF Public Media | Tampa NPR, Local News Coverage
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Senators Get Briefed On Hepatitis A

Julio Ochoa WUSF Public Media

With more than 2,400 cases this year, a Florida Senate committee will receive an update next week about the state’s hepatitis A outbreak.

The state Department of Health on Tuesday is slated to brief the Senate Health Policy Committee about the disease, which can cause liver damage.

As of Saturday, the state had 2,460 reported cases of the disease this year. By comparison, it had 122 cases in 2016, 276 cases in 2017 and 548 cases last year. The outbreak has particularly hit hard in certain areas of the state. Pasco County, for example, led the state as of Saturday with 385 cases this year, while neighboring Pinellas County had 354 cases.

The virus can spread through the feces of people who are infected. It can be transferred through food or drink if, for example, people have not washed their hands thoroughly after going to the bathroom. It also can be spread through sex and intravenous drug use.

Symptoms include fever, fatigue, vomiting and loss of appetite. The Health Policy Committee will hold its first meeting next week as it begins preparing for the 2020 legislative session, which starts in January.

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