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By Kent Donahue

July 26, 2019

The Florida Department of Health in Orange County (DOH-Orange) recognizes July 28, 2019 as World Hepatitis Day. The annual observance seeks to increase the awareness and understanding of viral hepatitis as a major global health threat. 

All types of viral hepatitis can cause inflammation of the liver; however, hepatitis B and C infections can result in a lifelong, chronic infection. According to the World Health Organization, viral hepatitis B and C affect 325 million people worldwide causing 1.4 million deaths a year. 

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). 

The goal of the DOH-Orange Hepatitis Prevention and Control Program is to reduce hepatitis cases among residents and visitors of Orange County. The program provides free Hepatitis vaccines and testing for high risk populations. In addition, it provides education, screening, counseling, and follow-up referrals.  For more information on the program or schedule an appointment, please call 407-723-5054. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has an online assessment for hepatitis risk at: The Viral Hepatitis Risk Assessment was developed by the CDC and provides individuals with a personalized report.