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Putnam County Offering Free Hepatitis C Screening

The Putnam County Department of Health is offering a full day of free Hepatitis C testing May 19.
The Putnam County Department of Health is offering a full day of free Hepatitis C testing May 19. Photo Credit: Facebook

BREWSTER, N.Y. —The Putnam County Department of Health is offering a full day of free Hepatitis C testing for all baby boomers on National Hepatitis Testing Day from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 19 at the main health department office, 1 Geneva Road, Brewster.

No appointment is necessary.

The generation born from 1945-65 is at particular risk and U.S. health officials encourage everyone in this age category to take this one-time test, regardless of any specific risk.

“All Putnam residents in this age category should get tested,” said Health Commissioner Allen Beals, M.D. “You can have Hepatitis C infection for years and still feel fine.”

More than three million Americans are living with the viral disease. Some develop severe symptoms that require hospitalization, but approximately 70-80 percent of others have only mild illness.

Baby boomers are at higher risk because the infection is transmitted through infected blood and comprehensive blood screening was not available until 1992. Most boomers are believed to have become infected in the 1970s and 1980s when rates of Hepatitis C were the highest. Viral hepatitis is a leading infectious cause of death in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Hepatitis C can be treated with several medications and some of the newer ones have fewer side effects.

Residents who can’t make the free testing day May 19 can call the health department at (845) 808-1390 for information about other free testing opportunities.

For more information, please visit the Putnam County Health Department here .

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