How do you get viral hepatitis?


Quick Answer

Viral hepatitis is spread by contact with contaminated tissue or waste, although the method of transmission varies depending on the type of hepatitis virus, reports the World Health Organization. Most types require direct contact with infected blood, semen or other bodily fluids.

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Full Answer

Hepatitis A and E can be spread without direct contact, according to the WHO. These viruses are usually spread through food or water that has been contaminated with feces from an infected person. These two types are commonly found in developing nations where there is poor sanitation due to a lack of infrastructure. There are vaccines available to safely and effectively prevent this type of hepatitis.

Hepatitis B can be spread through contact with several bodily fluids, reports WomensHealth.gov. This includes blood, semen and vaginal fluid. Mothers with hepatitis B can also spread it to their children when giving birth. There are vaccines available to protect against hepatitis B as well.

Hepatitis C can only be spread through contact with infected blood, notes the WHO. Shared needles are a common route of infection among intravenous drug users. It can also be spread through blood transfusions or other blood products if they are not properly screened. There are cases where it has spread during sexual contact, but this is less common. There is no vaccine available for this form of hepatitis.

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