The facts on hepatitis; where to find help

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WHAT TO DO

If you believe you were exposed to hepatitis A virus at Our Lady of Lourdes Church, call the Nassau Department of Health at 516-227-9496 between 9 a.m. and 4:45 p.m., or visit newsday.com for more info.

The immune globulin and vaccine also will be available at the church, 855 Carmans Rd. in Massapequa Park, between 3 and 8 p.m. Tuesday and between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Wednesday.


ABOUT HEPATITIS A

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Triggered by a virus that can cause a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe illness lasting several months.

Usually spread when a person ingests fecal matter - even in microscopic amounts - from contact with objects, food, or drinks contaminated by feces from an infected person.

Symptoms include a flulike illness, diarrhea, cramping and possibly jaundice. Once infected, a person is immune for life.

Infection can be effectively treated with the injection of immune globulin, an antibody that destroys the virus. A vaccine is available to prevent infection.

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Even though it causes illness, the virus is not as dangerous as infection with hepatitis B or C, which cause a chronic disease and can lead to liver failure.

Sources: Dr. Melissa Palmer; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Nassau County Department of Health

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