About Hepatitis Infections

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a liver infection caused by the Hepatitis A virus (HAV). Hepatitis A is highly contagious. It is usually transmitted by the fecal-oral route, either through person-to-person contact or consumption of contaminated food or water. Hepatitis A is a self-limited disease that does not result in chronic infection.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a liver infection caused by the Hepatitis B virus (HBV). Hepatitis B is transmitted when blood, semen, or another body fluid from a person infected with the Hepatitis B virus enters the body of someone who is not infected. This can happen through sexual contact; sharing needles, syringes, or other drug-injection equipment; or from mother to baby at birth. For some people, hepatitis B is an acute, or short-term, illness but for others, it can become a long-term, chronic infection.

Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C is spread primarily by contact with blood and blood products. The use of injection illicit drugs is the most common mode of disease transmission including those people who injected illicit drugs only one time many years ago. People who received blood transfusions, transfusion of blood products or organ donations prior to 1992, when sensitive tests for HCV were introduced for blood screening, are at risk for hepatitis C infection, as are persons who received clotting factors prior to 1987. Other persons at risk for hepatitis C include long-term kidney dialysis patients, people with tattoos and body piercing other than pierced ears, health care workers after exposures (i.e., needle stick or splashes to the eye) from the blood of an infected person while on the job, infants born to HCV-infected mothers, people with high-risk sexual behavior, multiple partners and sexually transmitted diseases, people who snort cocaine using shared equipment, and people who have shared toothbrushes, razors and other personal items with a family member who is HCV-infected.