Pasco health officials dealing with uptick in hepatitis A cases

Health officials in Pasco County say they're dealing with more cases of hepatitis A then a majority of counties across the state, and they're trying to get a handle on it. 

"Pasco County is one of the leading counties in the state for hepatitis right now," said Department of Health Preparedness Director Time Exline. "We've got over 400 cases since last year. We typically get about six a year."

Numbers have been steadily rising -- and doubling -- statewide. 

The number of reported hepatitis A cases more than doubled from 2016 to 2017 and nearly doubled again in 2018 after remaining relatively stable in previous years. 

Reported cases in 2019 have already surpassed those in 2018. The current count so far this year is 2,675. 

"We've been going out and doing a lot of outreach around the county since January," Exline explained. "We're trying to get as many people vaccinated as we can."

Health officials took their outreach to the Pasco Pride celebration on Sunday, offering free shots at a kiosk.

"We typically give out 300-400 shots when we go out," Exline added. 

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You can always visit the Florida Department of Health in Pasco County to receive a hepatitis A vaccine. For more information, visit the county's health department website