St. Lucie to assist Martin County’s investigation surrounding spike in hepatitis A

Hep A

MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. — Health officials are working around the clock in Martin County to figure out where 16 reported cases of hepatitis A originated from.

“At this point, we are working to confirm a series of information,” said health department spokesperson Renay Rouse.

Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease spread person to person through food, drinks, or objects contaminated by small amounts of fecal matter. The critical question is how the victims contracted the sickness.

“If the patient is available, they are going to that to that patient and find out a series of things like lifestyle questions, where you ate, where you work, what you do,” said Rouse.

Recently, a Palm City couple died from complications of hepatitis A. Jeffrey and Nancy Kirsch were found dead in their home on March 28.

WPTV is working to confirm a third local death possibly linked to hepatitis A. Neighbors of the deceased say an obituary was written by the man’s widow saying he recently died from the sickness.

At this time, Palm Beach County and Martin County are considered “high risk” because both have at least five cases this year.

Six cases have been reported in Palm Beach County, two cases have been reported in St. Lucie and Okeechobee counties, and none in Indian River County.

The St. Lucie County Health Department said it is assisting Martin County with its investigation of the outbreak.

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