Editor's note: This article was updated with the correct information regarding the age of those eligible for a Hepatitis A vaccination.
To combat a rise in Hepatitis A cases in the county, the Florida Department of Health in Citrus County (DOH-Citrus) is offering the two-dose hepatitis A vaccine at no cost to adults over 18 at the Duke Energy/DOH-Citrus COVID-19 Vaccination Site in Crystal River. Parents and guardians are encouraged to contact their child’s health care provider or the Lecanto Health Department regarding the Hepatitis A vaccine for children 12 months of age or older.
No appointment necessary. First and second doses of hepatitis A vaccine will be offered by walk-in at 8200 W. Venable St. in Crystal River on the following days and times throughout June:
■ 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.
In 2020, 14 hepatitis A cases were reported in Citrus. As of May 8, less than five months into the year, 12 cases have been reported in the county, eight of which have been reported since April.
“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,” said DOH-Citrus Administrator Ernesto “Tito” Rubio. “Those at risk need to know that there’s an effective vaccine that protects them from this disease and it is readily available.”
Hepatitis A is caused by a contagious virus that infects the liver — it can lead to serious liver problems. The virus spreads through the feces of people who have the virus. If a person with the virus doesn’t wash their hands after going to the bathroom, feces can get on their hands and can transfer to objects, food and drinks. When these things are shared, other people can unknowingly swallow the virus.
Symptoms include fever, dark urine, yellow-tinged skin or eyes, fatigue and gastric issues. People with hepatitis A symptoms should seek medical care immediately.
Good hygiene to prevent the spread of hepatitis A — washing hands well after using the bathroom — lessens the chance that fecal contamination will spread the disease in those who have it. Vaccination is the best protection for those at risk.
For more information about DOH-Citrus, visit www.CitrusCountyHealth.org or follow them on Twitter at @FLHealthCitrus.
For more information about hepatitis A in Florida, visit floridahealth.gov/hepA.