July 25, 2016

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Hepatitis C screenings offered for free

MEDINA TWP. — The Medina County Health Department is offering free Hepatitis C screenings and is urging baby boomers to be tested.

Anyone can get Hepatitis C, but 75 percent of those infected have been people born between 1945 and 1965.

Hepatitis C is a liver disease that results from an infection with the Hepatitis C virus. Over time, Hepatitis C can cause liver damage, cirrhosis, liver cancer and death.

It’s not known why baby boomers have the highest rates of Hepatitis C, but according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most boomers probably became infected with the disease in the 1970s and 1980s when the disease when the rates were the highest. Since Hepatitis C can go unnoticed for up to several decades, baby boomers could be living with an infection they got years ago.

The free Hepatitis C screenings will be 5 to 7 p.m., Feb. 10 at the Health Department, 4800 Ledgewood Drive.

The Health Department said most people contract Hepatitis C from blood contact with an infected person.

People can be infected from contaminated blood and blood products before 1992, when widespread blood screening started.

The disease also can be spread by infected needles.

Because there are often no initial symptoms of Hepatitis C, most people don’t know how or when they were infected.

Supplies are limited and the health department is asking appointments be made for screening tests. To make an appointment, call (330) 723-9688.

Contact reporter Loren Genson at (330) 721-4063 or lgenson@medina-gazette.com.

Loren Genson About Loren Genson

Loren Genson was The Gazette's senior reporter. From August 2012 through September 2015, she covered Brunswick city and state and national government. To contact The Gazette, call the managing editor at (330) 721-4065.