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People taking extra precautions to stay safe amid Hepatitis A outbreak

Vincent McClane.PNG
Dr. Vincent McClane knows how quickly viruses can spread in medical facilities like dental offices. (WPEC)

There are growing concerns in the Treasure Coast, where the number of confirmed Hepatitis A cases have been rising for weeks now.

This is particularly true in Martin County, where three of 19 people have died from complications with the highly contagious liver virus.

On Monday, CBS12 News learned the number of Hepatitis A cases and related deaths in Martin County has not changed since last Wednesday.

And while that’s good news, some people are keeping their guard up.

Dr. Vincent McClane knows how quickly viruses can spread in medical facilities like dental offices.

That’s why he always wears gloves and a face mask before working on his patients.

While those precautionary steps are part of his every day routine, McClane said now more than ever, he isn't taking any chances because of the Hepatitis A outbreak in Martin County.

“We need to make sure we are handling everything properly,” McClane said.

Proper sterilization of the dental equipment continues to be a priority at McClane’s offices in West Palm Beach and Stuart.

“We try to make sure that everybody wash their hands, wears their proper protective gear, uses the correct chemicals to wipe down any surfaces and use of disposables,” he said.

McClane is also looking out for his patients.

“Anybody that would come in who would be exhibiting any symptoms of Hepatitis A, we would make sure we talk to them about the symptoms they are having and possibly even rescheduling them and make sure they get medical care," he said.

The latest numbers that show 29 confirmed cases locally.

Martin County has the most with 19.

Three people have died so far, including Palm City couple Nancy and Jeffrey Kirsch.

Sadly, Jeffery’s brother, who is from Vermont, also died.

Florida health officials are now working with officials in Vermont to determine if the death is related to local Hepatitis A cases.

“I think this is something that has not been on the radar for a longtime and now all of a sudden people are contracting this disease and dying,” McClane said.

He said the outbreak affects all of us and should be taken seriously.

The most effective way to prevent contracting the virus is getting a vaccination.

At the Martin County Health Department, it’s free for anyone who is uninsured and underinsured.

For everyone else, it's around $140.

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