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Viral Hepatitis

Florida Department of Health in Seminole County

The Hepatitis Prevention Program at the Florida Department of Health in Seminole County provides adult hepatitis vaccines, screening and testing. The program is active in the community at numerous outreach events educating the public on Hepatitis and the importance of getting tested.

Our Services:

  • FREE viral hepatitis testing to people who may be at risk for the disease.

  • Qualified adults can also receive free vaccine against Hepatitis A and B.

  • One on one support provided for Central Florida residents.  For more information call 407-665-3019.

Hepatitis Awareness Month

The program proudly supports Hepatitis Awareness Month each May and provides activities to raise awareness on the importance of being tested.

What is Hepatitis?

Infectious hepatitis is transmitted by one of several viruses, but primarily the following:

Hepatitis A
Hepatitis A is found in feces and in the intestinal tract, and can be spread by:

  • Eating contaminated food prepared by an infected person who did not wash their hands properly

  • Anal/oral sexual practices

  • Eating contaminated shellfish

  • Drinking contaminated water

The hepatitis A virus is rarely transmitted via the blood-borne route, and is never transmitted through the air or by casual contact such as coughing, sneezing, or being in the same area as an infected person.

Learn more by viewing our Hepatitis A flyer.

Hepatitis B
Hepatitis B is found in blood, seminal fluids, vaginal secretions, and other body fluids. The virus can be spread by:

  • Unprotected sexual contact with an infected person, especially among persons with multiple sex partners or men who have sex with men (MSM)

  • Contact with contaminated needles, especially injection drug equipment. Other items such as tattoo and body piercing instruments, razors, and toothbrushes may be contaminated with infected blood

  • An infected mother to her infant during delivery

  • Household contact with an infected person

  • Occupational exposure through accidental needle stick

The hepatitis B virus is not an airborne virus, and is never transmitted through casual contact such as coughing, sneezing, being in the same area as an infected person, or by consuming contaminated food or water.

Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) typically produces a symptomless liver infection that can lead, over decades, to severe liver disease, including cirrhosis and liver cancer. Most of those infected are unaware that they have the disease, and may serve as unknowing sources of transmission. Hepatitis C is found in blood, and can be spread by:

  • Sharing injection drug equipment

  • Blood transfusion or organ transplant before 1992

  • Receiving clotting factor concentrates before 1987

  • An infected mother to her infant during delivery

  • Occupational exposure through needle stick

  • Sexual contact (rarely)

For more information on Hepatitis, please visit the Hepatitis Prevention Program website

Introduction

Hepatitis means inflammation of the liver. Hepatitis can be caused by many things, one of which are viruses. There are three types of viral hepatitis that are most commonly reported: hepatitis A, hepatitis B and hepatitis C. All three viruses cause very similar illness, however, there are some important distinctions:

  • Hepatitis A does not result in a lifelong infection and has a vaccine available,

  • Hepatitis B can sometimes result in lifelong infection and has a vaccine available and

  • Hepatitis C often results in lifelong infection and no vaccine is available, but treatment is available

For more information on the differences between hepatitis A, B and C, visit the CDC Viral Hepatitis website.

Hepatitis Prevention Program

The Florida Department of Health provides no-cost viral hepatitis testing and vaccines to individuals at risk for viral hepatitis infection. Those are risk for infection include:

Hepatitis A

  • Ingesting fecal matter (even in very small amounts) from objects, food and drinks contaminated by the feces/stool of an infected person.
    • A public health emergency was issued in August 2019 by Florida Surgeon General, Dr. Scott Rivkees related to significant increases in hepatitis A across Florida. For more information and surveillance data, visit the Hepatitis A website.

Hepatitis B and C

  • Sharing equipment that has been contaminated with blood from an infected person, such as needles and syringes
  • Receiving a blood transfusion before 1992
  • Birth to an infected mother
  • Sex with an infected person
  • Sharing personal items that may come in contact with blood (e.g.,toothbrush, razor)

Individuals who meet any of the above criteria, has been in close contact with someone with hepatitis A, B, or C, or has tested positive for hepatitis A, B and/or C can contact the Florida Department of Health in Seminole County Viral Hepatitis Prevention Program at 407-665-3243 to discuss testing and vaccination options.