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DOH-Seminole - National Hepatitis Awareness Month Free Hepatitis A Vaccines

May 30, 2019

Sanford, Fla. - In recognition of May as National Hepatitis Awareness Month, the public is encouraged to learn more about hepatitis and get tested and vaccinated. The Seminole County Health Department continues collaborating closely with community partners to raise hepatitis A awareness and encourage vaccination. Free hepatitis A vaccinations are being offered to high-risk individuals at different sites throughout the county and are also available through the Hepatitis Prevention Program at DOH-Seminole. Please call the health department at 407-665-3019 to see if you qualify for free vaccine. The upcoming hepatitis A vaccine events are:

May 30th from 4 - 6pm at the Seminole County Health Department Food Pantry located at 400 West Airport Boulevard, Sanford, FL 32773.

June 4th from 9am - 12pm at Shepherd's Hope Health Center located at 600 N. US Highway 17-92, Suite 124, Longwood, FL 32750.

June 5th from 3:30 - 5:30pm at Grace & Grits located at First United Methodist Church 419 S. Park Ave. Sanford, FL 32771.

June 8th from 11am - 2pm at Hispanic Community Festival located at Clifford McKibbin Park, 1201 W. 25th St. Sanford, FL. 32771.

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

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 1970's and 1980's 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). Although anyone can get hepatitis A, some people are at higher risk; such as, people with direct contact with someone who has hepatitis A, men who have sexual contact with men, people who use drugs, and people who are experiencing homelessness. 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. Vaccines are available for hepatitis A and B. There is no vaccine for hepatitis C (HCV).

For more information about hepatitis and the Seminole County Health Department Hepatitis Prevention Program, contact (407) 665-3019 and visit www.seminolecohealth.com.

About the Florida Department of Health

The department, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts.

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