Viral Hepatitis

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Viral Hepatitis
“Hepatitis” means inflammation of the liver. Hepatitis can be caused by many things, but is most commonly caused by a virus. There are three types of viral hepatitis common in the US:

  • Hepatitis A: Check out https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/HAV/index.htm for more information!
    • spread when a person ingests fecal matter—even in microscopic amounts—from contact with                   objects, food, or drinks contaminated by feces or stool from an infected person.
  • Hepatitis B: Check out https://www.hepb.org/ for more information!
    • Hepatitis B is primarily spread when blood, semen, or certain other body fluids– even in microscopic amounts – from a person infected with the hepatitis B virus enters the body of someone who is not infected.
  • Hepatitis C: Check out http://hcvadvocate.org/ for more information!
    • Hepatitis C is spread when blood – even in microscopic amounts – from a person infected with the hepatitis C virus enters the body of someone who is not infected.
    • This is one of the most common communicable diseases in LaSalle County.

Symptoms
Many people don’t experience any symptoms at all and most don’t even know they’re infected. Symptoms   of hepatitis can include: fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, light-colored stools, joint pain, and jaundice.

How is it prevented?
There is an effective vaccine for both Hepatitis A and B. Unfortunately, there is no vaccine to prevent Hepatitis C right now. Other ways to prevent viral hepatitis include: always practice good hand hygiene, do not share needles or other injection drug equipment, do not share personal items such as razors or toothbrushes, always use a condom during sex, and always assume blood that is not yours could be infectious.
Hepatitis A and B vaccines are offered at the LaSalle County Health Department, by appointment. Call (815)433-3366 and ask for Adult Immunizations.

Who should be tested?
Here is a link to the CDC Hepatitis Risk Assessment. This assessment is confidential and will determine if you should be vaccinated and or tested for viral hepatitis.
https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/riskassessment/start.html
Free hepatitis C testing is offered at the LaSalle County Health Department, by appointment. Call (815)433-3366 for more information.

This information was derived from information on the CDC’s website on Hepatitis. For more information go to www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/index.htm.

Additional Resources:
Illinois Help Line
Local Mental Health and Substance Abuse Agencies