PALM CITY, Fla. (CBS12) — The Hepatitis A outbreak is spreading.
The highly contagious and deadly virus now confirmed in Martin, St. Lucie, Palm Beach and Okeechobee counties.
That's a total of 26 cases, as of Wednesday night.
The Health Department of Martin County is expected to release new information, such as numbers and case updates, a spokeswoman said Wednesday evening.
The family of a Palm City couple found dead inside their home is still struggling to understand how the two seemingly healthy people got the virus.
“I think what’s most surprising to me was that they said health clinics knew about this in early March and the fact that my brother was misdiagnosed is troublesome,” said Ned Kirsch, brother of Jeff Kirsch. “It’s really depressing. I would be terrified if I lived down there.”
Kirsch, who is now back home in Vermont after his Martin County visit, wonders when the health department really knew about the Hepatitis A outbreak and why the public didn’t learn of it sooner.
Jeff Kirsch, a Stuart-based attorney, and his wife, Nancy Kirsch, were married for more than 30 years.
“They were just great people. It’s just tragic,” Kirsch said.
Known for their healthy lifestyles and their love for animals, the couple was found dead inside their Palm City home last month from the contagious liver illness.
They were both were 62 years old.
“They were sick, but they thought they had the flu,” Kirsch said. “They were trying to get better. They didn’t know they had this.”
Kirsch says he’s been in contact with the health department, but still has questions, such as if whether officials investigated where they ate before or what food they had at home.
On Wednesday, CBS12 News tracked down the Martin County Health Department for answers.
“It’s the job of the epidemiologist to do the investigation. That consist of, first of all, an interview, if the patient is available. They’re going to talk with that patient," said Renay Rouse, spokeswoman for the Health Department of Martin County. "They are going to find out a series of things; lifestyle questions, where you ate, where you work, what you do?”
Rouse could not comment on the Kirsch investigation and the other cases because they are still ongoing.
However, she did say the county is working with regional and state officials to find the source, but still no luck.
“Hepatitis A is out in the community. People need to know what they can do to protect themselves. Good hand washing and hygiene, of course, getting that vaccination,” Rouse said.
For Kirsch, the message comes too late.
“Our family is trying to wrap our head around it," he said. "I would hope the health department is putting every resource they have into this right now for the of the community there."
The virus has now spread to Palm Beach, Okeechobee and St. Lucie counties with at least 26 cases across our area.