Hepatitis A is spread across the state, and the disease has now reached outbreak level in Broward County.
On Thursday, the Broward County Health Department confirmed that there have been seven cases of adults with hepatitis A since the first year, making Broward a high-risk zone like the counties in the north. Broward's reported cases follow Palm Beach and Martin County, which confirmed this week that they had reached the outbreak threshold in five cases, making them high-risk zones.
In Martin County, the health agency has announced its last confirmed case of liver disease, bringing the total to at least 16 since the first year of the year. Eleven of the Martin County cases have occurred since April 1. The total number represents the largest number of hepatitis A cases recorded in Martin County over the past five years.
On Tuesday, Palm Beach County reported six cases, five of which were registered within the last 50 days. The health department said they were scouting for the source of the liver's transmissible disease, and from Thursday they had found no direct connection between any of the infected. cases had been re-portrait in 2019 at the end of March.
Deaths from hepatitis A are unusual, but a Palm City man and wife died two weeks ago due to complications from the disease, officials have said. A third death in Martin County was confirmed on Thursday. Hepatitis A usually spreads person to person through objects, food or beverages contaminated by fecal matter from an infected person. Most adults with hepatitis A have symptoms such as fatigue, low appetite, abdominal pain, nausea and jaundice, which are usually resolved within two months of infection; Most children under the age of 6 do not have symptoms or have an unknown infection. Previous outbreaks were traced to infected frozen strawberries and raw scallops. It differs from hepatitis C, which spreads through contaminated blood.
The CDC recommends unvaccinated persons who have been exposed within two weeks to the hepatitis A virus, receive the vaccine or a shot of immunoglobulin to prevent serious disease. Florida Department of Health Palm Beach County spokesman Alex Shaw said the health department said people at high risk for hepatitis A may receive vaccines at their local health centers, offering cheap options for those who are uninsured or underinsured. Along with healthcare providers, many local pharmacies also offer the vaccine to those who are 7 or older.
Dr. John Rivas, a Hollywood-certified boarding specialist, said it can take Hepatitis A about six months to completely clear the body when a person becomes infected.
"What is scary is that you can be postponed today and not find out for three or four weeks," he said. "That's what makes it difficult to control and why consciousness and wash hands are always important."
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