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Tyrone Hospital to sponsor Hepatitis C screening

Did you know that Hepatitis C is on the rise in Blair County?
That is what the Blair County Healthy Community Partnership (BCHCP) learned when they conducted a county-wide study to identify community health issues.
Hepatitis C is a blood born infection that damages the liver, a body organ humans cannot live without. It is transmitted by exposure to an infected person’s blood.
To address this community health issue, the BCHCP reached out to area health providers asking for their participation to develop an education and screening program to address the dangerous trend of rising Hepatitis C cases in Blair County. As a result of this cooperative effort, an education and screening project, approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Health, is now being implemented.
As part of this project, over the next year, each hospital in Blair County will host a Hepatitis C Screening program. Tyrone Hospital will host a Hepatitis C screening in February.
Annette Lynn, Director of Social Services serves as Tyrone Hospital’s representative at the Blair County Healthy Community Partnership for this project.
Lynn said, “The goals of this project are to educate the public about Hepatitis C, provide screening for those who are at risk, direct those identified as having Hepatitis C to needed medical care and other support and to provide education regarding prevention of the disease.”
Lynn also added that certain people are at risk for Hepatitis C, and the only way to detect the disease is through blood testing. She said that often there are no symptoms of the disease .
“We are hoping those who are at risk for Hepatitis C will take advantage of this screening program. Gone undetected, it can lead to liver problems including cirrhosis and liver cancer.”
Who should be tested for Hepatitis C?
Individuals should be tested if…
• If you received a blood transfusion or organ transplant prior to 1992.
• If you used intravenous drugs, even once.
• If you received long term hemodialysis.
• If you received clotting factor made prior to 1987.
• If you have persistently abnormal liver levels (ALT).
• If you were born to a Hepatitis C positive mother.
• If you have unprotected sex with multiple partners.
• If you have a history of sexually transmitted disease.
• If you have received tattoos.
• If you have received body piercings.
• If you are an intranasal cocaine user.
• If you have had household exposure—sharing razors, toothbrush, or nail clippers with a Hepatitis C infected person.
• If you are a beautician or barber
• If you are a healthcare worker, emergency medical, or public safety worker exposed to needle sticks, sharps, or mucosal exposures to Hepatitis C positive blood.
• If you have been in the military and have been exposed to someone else’s blood through contact with a bleeding wound, needle stick, or in any other way. Combat and even military training often bring soldiers in contact with blood.
Tyrone Hospital’s upcoming screening will be held on February 10, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the hospital’s main lobby. A nominal fee of $12 per person will be charged.
Pre and post test counseling will be provided by professionals from the Home Nursing Agency. The screening is open to any member of the public who wishes to be screened.
Any screening participant with a positive result for Hepatitis C will be referred for proper medical attention and support.
For more information about the upcoming Hepatitis C screening program, contact the marketing office at Tyrone Hospital at 684-1255 extension 539.