ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The number of Hepatitis C cases in the U.S. are rising.
- Pinellas Co Dept. of Health offering Hepatitis C tests, education
- Bay area counties see rise in hepatitis A cases
- RELATED: Bay Area Health Officials Informing Public On Hepatitis A Cases
And the spread of the disease is impacting several at risk groups, including older Americans. Health officials said Hep C cases could also be rising due to the opioid crisis.
That has prompted multiple clinics in Pinellas County to offer free testing and education.
People can have Hepatitis C for years and not realize it. And, left undetected, it can result in long-term liver damage.
Hepatitis C symptoms include fever, fatigue and yellowing of the eyes and skin. The disease is commonly transmitted through infected needles but before 1992, the CDC says it was transmitted through blood infusions and organ transplants.
That's part of the reason why nationwide health officials want baby boomers - people born between 1945 and 1965 to get tested. And a lot of people in that age range happen to live in Florida.
"Hepatitis C impacts everybody differently," said Kevin Baker with the Pinellas County Department of health. "So the best thing you can do is of course try to get tested now before anything like that happens.
"But otherwise, if you do develop symptoms you should seek medical attention immediately."
There is no cure or vaccine for Hep C but there are treatment options available to manage the condition and flare ups.