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DOH Seminole - Free Hepatitis Testing and Vaccines

By Mirna Chamorro

May 23, 2018

Sanford, Fla. — In recognition of May as National Hepatitis Awareness Month, the Florida Department of Health in Seminole County (DOH-Seminole) in partnership with Shepherd’s Hope is offering free Hepatitis testing and vaccines on Thursday, May 31st from 5:00 to 8:00pm at the Shepherd’s Hope Health Center located at 600 N. US Highway 17-92, Suite 124, Longwood, FL 32750.

“Many people are unaware they are infected with hepatitis. It is important to get tested and treated for hepatitis early and prevent serious liver problems, including liver damage, cirrhosis and even liver cancer,” said Donna Walsh, health officer for the Florida Department of Health in Seminole County.

The National Hepatitis Awareness Month annual observance is an opportunity to collaborate and shed light on this epidemic by raising awareness about viral hepatitis and encouraging priority populations to get tested. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends baby boomers or anyone born from 1945-1965 get tested for hepatitis C. Baby boomers are 5 times more likely to have hepatitis C, which is not completely understood. Most boomers are believed to have become infected in the 1970s and 1980s when rates of hepatitis C were the highest.

Hepatitis is characterized by inflammation of the liver. Hepatitis A, B, and C are the most common types of viral hepatitis in the United States. Symptoms of hepatitis, if they are present, include nausea, fever, weakness, loss of appetite and jaundice. Hepatitis A is transmitted by eating food or drinking water that has been contaminated with human waste (feces). Hepatitis B is spread through contact with the blood or body fluids of an infected person. Hepatitis C is usually spread through contact with blood containing the virus. There is no vaccine for hepatitis C (HCV). 

On May 24th DOH-Seminole will host two Lunch and Learn presentations at the health department located at 400 West Airport Boulevard in Sanford from 11:30 am – 1 pm on the Introduction to Hepatitis C, HCV Can Be Cured, Your Role in Screening and Linking HCV Patients to Care.

For information or assistance contact Enid Santiago-Cruz with the Hepatitis Program at (407) 665-3019.

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