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Hepatitis A cases in Florida spike to more than 2,000

This image is a microscopic close-up of the Hepatitis A virus
Hepatitis A virus, produced from an image taken with transmission electron microscopy. Photo: BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

The Florida Surgeon General declared a public health emergency this week after cases of Hepatitis A, a vaccine-preventable disease, swelled to 2,034, the Miami Herald reports.

What's happening: 56 new cases of Hepatitis A, a communicable disease of the liver, were reported in Florida from July 20 to July 27. Most of the areas affected are in central and western Florida, according to the Herald.

“The best way to prevent Hepatitis A is through vaccination. It is important that we vaccinate as many high-risk individuals as possible in order to achieve herd immunity.”
— Florida Surgeon General Dr. Scott Rivkees, in a statement on Thursday

Context: Only 548 cases were reported in Florida for all of 2018, according to the state's health department. Florida’s outbreak is overlapping with a national influx of cases.

Go deeper: The intensifying national debate over vaccine exemption rules