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Florida Department of Health in Marion County

The Florida Department of Health in Marion County provides hepatitis vaccines for people who may be at high risk for the disease, and for those who have been identified as contacts to existing cases.

Health care professionals in the Communicable Diseases department monitor case reporting and perform follow-up with those who have come in contact with the disease.

The Department performs hepatitis testing, and administers hepatitis B vaccines to adults who are at increased risk.

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
  • Household contact with someone who has hepatitis A, as the virus can be transmitted via contaminated surfaces.

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 or sneezing.

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 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)
  • Receiving a tattoo from any source other than a commercial parlor, such as at prison or a from a friend
  • Sharing personal items like razors, nail clippers, toothbrushes and tweezers.

There have been no studies that have shown an association with military service or exposure resulting from the following: medical, surgical, or dental procedures; professional tattooing; acupuncture; ear piercing; or foreign travel. If transmission from such exposure does occur, it is too infrequent to detect.

For more information, visit the Florida Department of Health Hepatitis page, or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Viral Hepatitis page.