Virus Outbreak Tied to Lack of Handwashing

Florida Health Department has reported more than 3,000 cases of hepatitis A

October 24, 2019

Florida health officials say an increase in hepatitis A cases throughout the state is most likely linked to a lack of handwashing, the Sun Englewood reports.

Since January, the Florida Health Department reported 3,339 statewide hepatitis A cases. In many instances, they are finding the disease is spreading through germs on hands. For instance, restaurant workers are contracting the virus from infected people who come into the facility to eat and use the restroom. In turn, food service workers who pick up the virus from a high-touch surface and then prepare food without washing their hands properly or wearing gloves spread hepatitis A to other customers.

Florida health officials say that food service workers would benefit from training on proper handwashing methods. A new campaign from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Life is Better with Clean Hands, motivates adults to make clean hands part of their daily lives. The campaign offers various resources, such as posters and social media posts, to help raise awareness about the importance of handwashing at key times in both homes and public settings, such as before cooking or after using the restroom.

State health staff also have been working with food service crews and other people at risk of hepatitis A, such as the homeless population, to get vaccinated against the disease.


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