Florida Health Palm Beach - Palm Beach County Health Department What is Public Health? Annual Reports - Florida Health Palm Beach County Health Department Meet our Director - Dr. Alina Alonso Site Index
Mission Statement:
To protect, promote & improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county & community efforts.

 

MENU

[Home]
[About Us]
[Health Centers]
[Directory]
[Health Services]
[WIC Services]
[Environmental]
[Birth & Death
 Records
]
[Immunizations]
[Education]
[Forms]

[Publications]
[
Medical Residency
]
[Be a Volunteer]
[Press Release]
[
Contact Us]
[What's New]

PBCHD TV - Palm Beach County Health Department - YouTube Videos

PBCHD

Organizational Chart
(*.pdf)
Community Events Calendar - Palm Beach County Health Department
PBCHD Public Service Events Calendar



Comprehensive Brochure of Services and Health Centers
Brochure
of Services

 

OTHER LINKS

  Links

File a Complaint -Department of Business and Professional Regulation
State of Florida job site - Peoplefirst

CONTACT US

HOT TOPICS

 

 

 

 

Mercury Poisoning  How can you limit your exposure to mercury?

Hepatitis C – What You Need to Know

What is hepatitis C?

Hepatitis C virus infection is the most common chronic bloodborne infection in the United States; approximately 3.2 million persons are chronically infected. It is the leading cause of cirrhosis and liver cancer and the most common reason for liver transplantation in the United States. Approximately 8,000–10,000 people die every year from hepatitis C related liver disease.

Hepatitis C is a contagious liver disease that results from infection with the hepatitis C virus. It can range in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious, lifelong illness. Hepatitis C is usually spread when blood from a person infected with the hepatitis C virus enters the body of someone who is not infected. Hepatitis C can be either “acute” or “chronic.”
 

Types of hepatitis C

Acute hepatitis C virus infection is a short-term illness that occurs within the first 6 months after someone is exposed to the hepatitis C virus. For most people, acute infection leads to chronic infection.

Chronic hepatitis C virus infection is a long-term illness that occurs when the hepatitis C virus remains in a person’s body. Hepatitis C virus infection can last a lifetime and lead to serious liver problems, including cirrhosis (scarring of the liver), liver cancer or death.

Contact and Spread

Hepatitis C is spread when blood from a person infected with the hepatitis C virus enters the body of someone who is not infected. Today, most people become infected with the hepatitis C virus by sharing needles or other equipment to inject drugs. Before 1992, when widespread screening of the blood supply began in the United States, Hepatitis C was also commonly spread through blood transfusions and organ transplants.

People can become infected with the hepatitis C virus during such activities as:

  • Sharing needles, syringes, or other equipment to inject drugs
  • Needlestick injuries in health care settings
  • Being born to a mother who has hepatitis C

Less commonly, a person can also get hepatitis C virus infection through

  • Sharing personal care items that may have come in contact with another person’s blood, such as razors or toothbrushes
  • Having sexual contact with a person infected with the hepatitis C virus

Hepatitis C virus is not spread by sharing eating utensils, breastfeeding, hugging, kissing, holding hands, coughing, or sneezing. It is also not spread through food or water. Hepatitis C virus has not been shown to be transmitted by mosquitoes or other insects.

Symptoms

If symptoms occur, the average time is 6–7 weeks after exposure, but this can range from 2 weeks to 6 months. However, many people infected with the hepatitis C virus do not develop symptoms. Even if a person with hepatitis C has no symptoms, he or she can still spread the virus to others.


Symptoms of acute hepatitis C, if they appear, can include:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Dark urine
  • Clay-colored bowel movements
  • Joint pain
  • Jaundice (yellow color in the skin or eyes)

Symptoms of chronic hepatitis C:

Most people with chronic hepatitis C do not have any symptoms. However, if a person has been infected for many years, his or her liver may be damaged. In many cases, there are no symptoms of the disease until liver problems have developed.

Diagnosis and Testing

Since many people with hepatitis C do not have symptoms, the disease is often detected during routine blood tests to measure liver function and liver enzyme (protein produced by the liver) levels. Talk to your doctor about getting tested for hepatitis C if any of the following are true:

  • You are a current or former injection drug user, even if you injected only one time or many years ago.
  • You were treated for a blood clotting problem before 1987.
  • You received a blood transfusion or organ transplant before July 1992.
  • You are on long-term hemodialysis treatment.
  • You have abnormal liver tests or liver disease.
  • You work in health care or public safety and were exposed to blood through a needlestick or other sharp object injury.
  • You are infected with HIV.

Treatment

Acute hepatitis C

There is no medication available to treat acute hepatitis C infection. Doctors usually recommend rest, adequate nutrition, and fluids.

Chronic hepatitis C

Each person should discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating hepatitis. People with chronic hepatitis C should be monitored regularly for signs of liver disease and evaluated for treatment. The treatment most often used for hepatitis C is a combination of two medicines, interferon and ribavirin. However, not every person with chronic hepatitis C needs or will benefit from treatment. In addition, the drugs may cause serious side effects in some patients.

In May 2011, the Food and Drug Administration approved 2 drugs for chronic hepatitis C. The first one is boceprevir and the other is telaprevir (Incivek). Both drugs block an enzyme that helps the virus reproduce. The drugs are intended to improve on standard treatments using the injected drug pegylated interferon alpha and the pill ribavirin.
 

Prevention

There is no vaccine for hepatitis C. The best way to prevent hepatitis C is by avoiding behaviors that can spread the disease; specifically:

  • Don’t share needles or syringes.
  • Practice “safer” sex. Hepatitis C can be spread through sexual contact but the risk of transmission from sexual contact is believed to be low. The risk increases for those who have multiple sex partners, have a sexually transmitted disease, engage in rough sex, or are infected with HIV.
  • Don’t share razors, toothbrushes or nail clippers.
  • If you ever tested positive for the hepatitis C virus (or hepatitis B virus), experts recommend never donating blood, organs, or semen because this can spread the infection to the recipient.
  • If you are getting a tattoo or body piercing, make certain that the artist or piercer sterilizes needles and equipment, uses disposable gloves, and washes hands properly.
 

Transmission of hepatitis C (and other infectious diseases) is possible when poor infection-control practices are used during tattooing or piercing. Since tattoo instruments come in contact with blood and bodily fluids, infection is possible if instruments are used on more than one person without being sterilized or without proper hygiene. Licensed, commercial tattooing facilities are not known to spread hepatitis C, but unregulated tattooing and piercing, as found in prisons and other informal settings, does increase the risk of transmission.

For more information regarding hepatitis C:

 

From the Palm Beach County Health Dept.
Epidemiology & Disease Control.

 

print this page

 

 


| Home | About Us | Health Centers | Office Locations | Health Services | WIC Services | Environmental |
|
Birth & Death | Immunizations | Education | Statistics | Be a Volunteer
|
 |Telephone Directory | Publications | Forms | Press Releases | What's New | Contact Us |
 |
Public Service Events Calendar | PBCHD TV |

Click for Health Department Publications Available Online!!

 Florida Dept. of Health (DOH) - www.doh.state.fl.us - opens a new window
         http://www.doh.state.fl.us/

MyFlorida.com - www.myflorida.com - opens a new window  Automated Community Connection to Economic Self-Sufficiency    Welcome to the Florida Community Health Assessment Resource Tool Set (CHARTS).  It is our hope that you will find Florida CHARTS informative and easy to use. This site includes such health statistics as births, deaths, disease morbidity, population and behavioral risk factors. - opens a new window Jobs within the State of Florida - State Job Search - opens a new window

Florida Health Finder.gov - opens a new window   Agency for Health Care Administration - opens a new window  

http://www.floridakidcare.org/ - opens in new window The Health Care District has launched a new program called Vitahealth.  This is a low cost policy for residents of Palm Beach County who have no health insurance coverage or have lost their coverage for over 6 months.  Details are available by calling 866-930-0035 or on the web at www.vitahealth.orgTen-year plan to end homelessness in Palm Beach County - opens a new window

The Adobe Acrobat Reader software is available for nearly any operating
system, and is a free download from Adobe's website

Visit Adobe for your copy of Acrobat Reader to view and read pdf files. - opens a new window

disclaimer If you have any general questions about this site or it's contents, please email webmaster
Copyright © 1998-2013 Florida Health Palm Beach County, all rights reserved..

PBCHD P.O. Box  29 West Palm Beach, FL 33402
For general questions, information, or health-related issues,
call (561) 840-4500 or use a feedback form under Contact Us.