Fifth hepatitis A related death in Martin County
Martin County, Fl- Officials have confirmed another Hepatitis A related death in Martin County. It’s the 5th confirmed death connected to the hepatitis A outbreak in the county, and the first in the city of Stuart.
The medical examiner confirmed the virus was a contributing factor in a man’s death in July. The patient was living in Stuart at the time he contracted the disease. The other 4 were in Palm City.
68 new cases of hepatitis A were reported from around Florida to state health officials last week.
According to the latest figures posted by the Florida Department of Health , the number of hepatitis A reported to the state between Jan. 1 and Aug. 10th is now at 2,192. Pasco County, which has reported more cases than any other county in Florida, reported five new cases last week. This brings its total to 373 cases.
Hepatitis A can be spread through such things as food or drinks that have been contaminated with fecal matter from people infected with the disease.
“Our community is one of many communities across the state and the nation experiencing a hepatitis A outbreak.” said Carolann Vitani, Interim Health Officer for the Florida Department of Health, Martin County. “With this widespread activity, it is essential that people take steps to protect themselves through good handwashing and vaccination.”
On August 1, Florida Surgeon General Dr. Scott Rivkees declared a Public Health Emergency to address the increase in hepatitis A cases in Florida. The declaration signals to health care providers the importance of screening and vaccination for all individuals considered at high risk for contracting hepatitis A. While anyone can contract hepatitis A, individuals who are considered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and FDOH to be high risk include: those who are experiencing homelessness; intravenous and non-intravenous drug users and men who have sex with other men. The declaration also recommends vaccination for individuals or who are at heightened risk for suffering serious complications from contracting hepatitis A. This includes individuals with chronic liver disease, clotting factor disorders and individuals over 60 years of age with underlying medical conditions.