8930 Stanford Blvd
Columbia, MD 21045
8930 Stanford Blvd
Hepatitis C is a disease caused by a virus that infects the liver. The virus, called HCV for short, is just one of many hepatitis viruses. The other common hepatitis viruses are A and B, which differ somewhat from HCV in the way they are spread and treated. According to the CDC, an estimated 2.7 million people in the United States have chronic Hepatitis C infection.
The Infectious Disease Surveillance and Response Program monitors for hepatitis cases in Howard County by receiving lab reports from hospitals, providers, and laboratories. We provide daily monitoring to protect the community from the spread of these infectious diseases by investigating for a source of infection, monitoring pregnancies at risk for transmission, providing up to date guidance, contact tracing, and offering close contacts vaccination at HCHD or locating a provider.
To contact us, email [email protected] or call 410-313-1412.
Hepatitis C is spread when blood from a person infected with the Hepatitis C virus – even in microscopic amounts – enters the body of someone who is not infected. The hepatitis C virus can also be transmitted from:
Hepatitis A is very contagious and spreads through close contact with an infected person or eating contaminated food or drinks. Hepatitis B and C are spread when blood, semen, or other body fluids from an infected person spreads to a non-infected person. This can happen through sexual contact; sharing needles, syringes, or other drug-injection equipment; or during pregnancy or delivery.
Hepatitis C can range from a mild illness, lasting a few weeks, to a serious, life-long (chronic) infection. Most people who get infected with the hepatitis C virus develop chronic hepatitis C. More than 50% of people who get infected with the hepatitis C virus develop a chronic infection. (CDC)
Many people with hepatitis do not have symptoms and do not know they are infected. If symptoms occur with an acute infection, they can appear anytime from 2 weeks to 6 months after exposure. Symptoms of chronic viral hepatitis can take decades to develop. Symptoms of hepatitis can include: fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, light-colored stools, joint pain, and jaundice. (CDC)
Your risk of hepatitis C infection is increased if you:
CDC recommends hepatitis C testing for:
The Health Department offers rapid Hepatitis C testing Monday - Friday from 10:00am - 3:00pm. Appointments are preferred, but not required. Call us at 410-313-7500 to make an appointment for testing and/or vaccination.
There are several medications available to treat chronic hepatitis C. Current treatments usually involve 8-12 weeks of oral therapy (pills) and cure over 90% of people with few side effects
The Health Department offers linkage to care and case management that will help get you connected with a local provider that can discuss treatment options and start the treatment that is best for you.