Hepatitis A is on the rise locally and nationally.

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Since January 2018, the Florida Department of Health reports that more than 1,200 cases of hepatitis A have been reported statewide, with 89 new cases in the last week. The increase reflects similar national trends, as local and state health departments across the country have worked with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to respond to outbreaks since March 2017.

Hepatitis A is transmitted from person-to-person through contact with an infected person’s feces, which can result from poor hand-washing after using the bathroom. Hepatitis A can also be spread through food or water contaminated with fecal matter or during close contact with others, such as sexually. While most patients with hepatitis A will fully recover, some may require hospitalization. Deaths rarely occur.

The symptoms of hepatitis A can include: fever, jaundice, tiredness, loss of appetite, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, diarrhea, and gray, clay-colored stool. If you have symptoms of hepatitis A, visit your healthcare provider for evaluation. People who are exposed to hepatitis A may be given a vaccine or immune globulin within 14 days of exposure to prevent infection.

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