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Is hepatitis contagious?

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Quick Answer

WebMD reports that all five types of hepatitis are contagious, though each is transmitted by different means. All types of hepatitis are viral infections of the liver, and each differs in the severity of its symptoms, as well as its likelihood of contagion.

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Is hepatitis contagious?
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Full Answer

Hepatitis A, the least severe of the five, is spread by ingestion of food or water contaminated with virus-carrying feces, according to WebMD. This risk occurs in numerous situations, such as restaurants, playgrounds, daycare centers and places with poor sanitation. Hepatitis B can cause serious liver complications and is spread by sex, blood transfusions, needle sharing and from mother to child in birth. Hepatitis C spreads mostly through contaminated tattoo needles and is associated with only mild symptoms. Hepatitis D is rare but serious and is only contracted via sex or at birth by those who already have hepatitis B. Hepatitis E is rare in the United States and is spread by the same means as hepatitis A.

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