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Auburn, Calif- ย– Placer County Health and Human Services will begin hosting a hepatitis C support group for anyone who wants to know more about the disease and its treatment. The confidential group is offered at no cost and is open to the public.

The first meeting is Monday, May 11, 2009, from 5:30-7:00 p.m. at 101 Cirby Lane, Roseville (Cirby Hills) in the cafeteria. The meeting on June 8 will take place in the same location, also from 5:30 to 7 p.m. The July 13 meeting will take place from 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Each meeting will focus on one topic and will be moderated by a county staff member who regularly works with communicable diseases.

In addition a HEP 101 – “I need to know” is scheduled for Wed. May 13, 2009 from 2:30-4:00 p.m. at 11484 B Ave, Auburn ( large conference room). This too is free, open to the public and confidential.

Placer County is also participating in “Stop Hepatitis Day”, a day of outreach to communities in Placer and Sacramento counties, on Tuesday, May 19, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Free information, vaccine and treatment referrals will be available at the Rite Aid located at HIghway 49 and Bell Road in Auburn, also at the Sunrise and Cirby location in Auburn.

Hepatitis C is a contagious liver disease that results from infection with the hepatitis C virus. Hepatitis C is usually spread when blood from an infected person enters the body of someone who is not infected. Most people become infected with the hepatitis C virus by sharing needles or other equipment to inject drugs. The virus can also be transmitted to those who receive tattoos or piercings in a setting that has poor infection control practices. Additionally, persons who received blood product for clotting problems made before 1987, or blood transfusions before 1992 may have increased risks for the disease.

Hepatitis C can be either ‘acute’ or ‘chronic.’ Acute hepatitis C virus infection is a short-term illness that occurs within the first 6 months after someone is exposed to the hepatitis C virus. For most people, acute infection leads to chronic infection. Chronic hepatitis C is a serious disease than can result in long-term health problems, or even death. Many of those infected do not realize they have the disease.

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