Hepatitis A infections up in Florida

ALACHUA CO., Fla. (WCJB) -- A report by the Florida Department of Health says that the number of Hepatitis A infections is up 3 times the yearly average in 2018, with nearly 350 cases reported.

According the the report, the numbers are highest in areas like Orlando and Tampa, and are higher than normal in Marion County. Alachua County has not seen a significant increase in the number of cases, and Nadia Kovacehvich, and epidemiologist with the Alachua County Department of Health says that she would like to keep it that way, saying, "We are at expected levels here in Alachua and we hope through this education that we won't see an increase in our community because these individuals will become vaccinated if they choose to, or will just be more educated on the ways we can prevent."

The virus can be spread through consumption of contaminated food or water or contact with an infected person or something they have touched. You can limit its spread by practicing good hygiene, like frequent hand washing, and vaccines are available.

Signs you may have the virus include:
Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes)
Dark urine
Clay-colored bowel movements
Nausea and vomiting
Abdominal pain or discomfort, especially around your liver
Fatigue
Loss of appetite
Low fever
Itching

If you think you might be infected, speak with your doctor or with your county health department.