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Hepatitis A Update: 40 Have Died in Florida

Below are key points from the article "Hepatitis A Hits Florida Hard" by Christine Sexton at the News Service Florida:

Hepatitis A is striking Florida in a more deadly fashion than in other states:
  • 40 people in Florida have died from the virus, giving the state a 1.3% fatality rate compared to the national average of 1%
  • 78% of cases in Florida have required hospitalization compared to 60% nationally. Florida Surgeon General Scott Rivkees estimates the virus has resulted in $180 million in hospital charges
  • Florida has had 2,540 reported cases this year of hepatitis A, including 78 last week, according to the latest data
The CDC recommends that 80% of the at-risk population (homeless people and drug users) be vaccinated to stop the spread of the virus. In Florida, about 491,000 people are considered at-risk; 392,000 of them must be vaccinated to reach the recommended 80%.

According to Rivkees, nearly 205,000 people in Florida have been vaccinated against the virus. While Rivkees stressed the role county health departments are playing, data shows that private health providers are taking the lead on vaccinations. County health departments have administered 85,556 vaccinations, according to the DOH website. more

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