TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) – Florida had 64 newly reported cases of hepatitis A last week, bringing the total number of cases this year to 2,413. Of the new cases, 84 percent involved hospitalizations, according to a Florida Department of Health weekly data release.

A News Service of Florida analysis of the data shows that Pasco County led the state in the number of newly reported cases last week, with seven.

Brevard County had six and was followed by Hillsborough, Lee, Marion and Orange counties, which each had four.

Hepatitis A is a highly contagious virus that attacks the liver and can cause death.

It is spread through such things as food or drinks that have been contaminated with fecal matter from people with hepatitis A, or from close contact with infected people.

State Surgeon General Scott Rivkees, who doubles as secretary of the Department of Health declared a public-health emergency because of hepatitis A last month.

The best way to protect against hepatitis A infection is through vaccination. As of Saturday, the five counties with the largest number of hepatitis A cases this year were Pasco County, with 384; Pinellas County, with 350; Volusia County, with 218; Orange County, with 157; and Hillsborough County, with 131.

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