A rise in the number of reported cases of hepatitis A has health officials urging Floridians to get vaccinated.
The Florida Department of Health in Broward County reports there have been 34 cases of hepatitis A infection this year. In the previous five years the county averaged just seven cases of hepatitis A infection.
Persons at increased risk can receive a free vaccine from the DOH’s Broward clinic, 2421 S.W. Sixth Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, 33315. The clinic is open Mondays from 1 to 4 p.m. and no appointment is required.
CVS Health is also providing vaccines at select locations in Broward County.
“Immunizations are an important part of preventive care and a critical way to prevent the spread of a serious illness, like hepatitis A,” said Tobias Barker, M.D., Chief Medical Officer of MinuteClinic, in a news release.
MinuteClinics are walk-in medical clinics, open seven days a week, operated by CVS Health. Hours vary by location. There are 10 locations in Broward County. Addresses for Fort Lauderdale locations: 1700 S. Federal Hwy. and 2240 E. Sunrise Blvd. Address for Pompano Beach clinic: 1501 S. Federal Hwy. Many of the 76 CVS Pharmacy locations also offer hepatitis A vaccines.
Hepatitis A is transmitted person-to-person orally and fecally through sexual contact, poor hand hygiene after using the toilet or changing an infant’s diapers. Most patients with hepatitis A fully recover, although 68 percent require hospitalization. A U.S. advisory committee on immunization practices recommends men who have sex with men receive two doses of the hepatitis A vaccine. The second dose is administered six to 12 months after the first inoculation.