Free vaccinations available as hepatitis A infections rise in Citrus County

Citrus County

CITRUS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – The Florida Department says hepatitis A cases are on the rise in Citrus County.

Only 14 cases of hepatitis A were confirmed in Citrus County in all of 2020 but, in less than five months for 2021, there have already been 12 cases reported. Health officials say eight of those cases were reported between April and May 8.

“While we are not seeing the increase we did in 2019, we are on track to exceed the total number of cases we saw in 2020 alone,” DOH-Citrus Administrator Ernesto “Tito” Rubio said. “Those at risk need to know that there’s an effective vaccine that protects them from this disease and it is readily available.”

To fight the rising number of cases, the Citrus County DOH is offering free two-dose hepatitis A vaccines for adults ages 18 or older. Residents can go to the Duke Energy/DOH-Citrus COVID-19 vaccination site in Crystal River to get their shots.

DOH says that parents or guardians are encouraged to contact their child’s health care providers or get in touch with the Lecanto Health Department about the hepatitis A vaccine for children who are 12 months or older.

No appointments are necessary for the vaccines. According to DOH, walk-in appointments will be offered for adults ages 18 or older at 8200 W. Venable St. in Crystal River:

  • Saturday and Sunday, June 19-20, from 9 a.m. to noon
  • Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Hepatitis A symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Dark Urine
  • Yellow-tinged skin or eyes
  • Fatigue
  • Gastric issues

DOH says good hygiene can prevent the spread of hepatitis A, and encourages hand washing after using the bathroom to help lessen the chance that fecal contamination will spread the disease.

You can find more information online from the Department of Health website.

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