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    North Pinellas digest

    By Times staff writer

    © St. Petersburg Times, published December 5, 2000

    Medical center offers hepatitis C screenings

    SEMINOLE -- The VA Medical Center at Bay Pines will offer free hepatitis C screenings, in cooperation with the Pinellas County Health Department, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday on the first floor of the main hospital, Building 100. The VA complex is at 10000 Bay Pines Blvd.

    Screenings are available to anyone 18 and older. Dr. Julia Gill, hepatitis program manager for the Pinellas County Health Department, said the Centers for Disease Control believe nearly 4-million Americans are infected with the hepatitis C virus and approximately 30,000 new infections occur annually. The virus is responsible for 8,000 to 10,000 deaths each year.

    Gill said the virus is transmitted through contact with an infected person's blood and may be more common in some groups of veterans than in the general population. A person is considered to be in a risk group if he or she: has received a blood transfusion or organ transplant prior to 1992; has injected illegal drugs; has been on long-term hemodialysis; was born to a hepatitis C positive mother; has elevated liver enzymes; has had multiple sexual partners; or has a history of exposure to blood on the job, such as health care workers or those in public safety.

    All participants will be evaluated for their risk for hepatitis C through a simple questionnaire, followed by confidential testing and counseling, if necessary. Reservations are not necessary, but suggested. For information, call the Health Department's hepatitis program, 824-6932.

    Center offers free showing of 'The Perfect Storm' today

    TARPON SPRINGS -- The Tarpon Springs Community Center, 400 S Walton Ave., will show the movie The Perfect Storm free at 1 p.m. today. The show is for residents 55 and over. Call (727) 942-5628 for information.

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