Hepatitis Quick Facts


Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver. Viruses cause most cases of hepatitis. The type of hepatitis is named for the virus that causes it; for example, hepatitis A, hepatitis B or hepatitis C. Drug or alcohol use can also cause hepatitis. 


Hepatitis A
The hepatitis A virus is transmitted when fecal matter containing the virus is ingested, most commonly through food. Infections with hepatitis A are self-limited and never result in chronic infection or serious liver damage. A 2-shot series vaccine is available (recommended for international travel) and can provide life-long immunity. For more information on hepatitis A, visit: http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/HAV/. For CDC recommendations about immunization, visit:https://www.hhs.gov/hepatitis/blog/2020/07/10/cdc-letter-updated-recommendations-for-hepatitis-a-vaccinations.html


Hepatitis B
The hepatitis B virus is transmitted through blood and sexual fluids. Unprotected sexual contact, injection drug use, and mother-to-child are the most common routes of infection. Chronic infection is possible, and a high risk for unimmunized infants and young children exposed to the virus. 2 or  3-shot series vaccines are available (required in most states for children in school) and can provide life-long immunity. To learn more about hepatitis B, visit: http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/HBV/


Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C is a virus that causes inflammation and scarring of the liver which may lead to complications such as cirrhosis, cancer, liver failure, and even death. There are 9 genotypes and over 50 subtypes within those genotypes. Genotype 1 is the most common HCV genotype in the United States. HCV is transmitted by contaminated blood that enters the blood stream of a non-infected person through a cut, or tear in the skin or mucous membrane in order for a new infection to occur.

Hepatitis D
The hepatitis D virus (also known as “delta hepatitis”) is transmitted through blood, but can only infect someone when the hepatitis B virus is also present. Hepatitis D is uncommon in the United States, and there is no vaccine: Read more at: http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/HDV/


Hepatitis E
Like hepatitis A, the hepatitis E virus is transmitted through the ingestion of fecal matter, most commonly in contaminated water in countries with poor sanitation. Hepatitis E is rare in the United States, but common in other parts of the world. There currently is no vaccine. Find out more about hepatitis E here: http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/HEV/

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