Hepatitis General Information
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
- Hepatitis C
- Perinatal Hepatitis B
Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease that results from infection with the hepatitis A virus (HAV). It can range in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe illness lasting several months. Hepatitis A is usually spread when a person ingests fecal matter—even in microscopic amounts—from contact with objects, food, or drinks contaminated by feces (stool) of an infected person.
Vaccination is the best way to prevent hepatitis A.
Hepatitis B is a liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). Hepatitis B is transmitted when blood, semen or other bodily fluids from an infected person 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. Risk for chronic infection is related to age at infection: approximately 90 percent of infected infants become chronically infected, compared with two to six percent of adults. Chronic hepatitis B can lead to serious health issues, including cirrhosis or liver cancer.
Vaccination is the best way to prevent hepatitis B.
- To learn more about who is at risk, modes of transmission, symptoms, vaccination, and treatment, view the Hepatitis B Overview.
Hepatitis C is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV) that typically produces no symptoms. Over many years, hepatitis C can lead to severe liver disease, including cirrhosis and liver cancer. Most of those infected are unaware that they have the disease. HCV is one of the most common chronic blood-borne infections in the United States, with an estimated 3.5 million Americans being infected (Source: CDC). The virus is transmitted via blood, most commonly by injection drug use, and before 1992, by blood transfusion. No vaccine is available, however, new medicines are available that can effectively treat hepatitis C.
- To learn more about who is at risk, modes of transmission, symptoms, and treatment, view the Hepatitis C Overview.
If you are looking for information on Perinatal Hepatitis B, visit the Florida Department of Health's Perinatal Hepatitis B Prevention Program site.
For more information, visit www.cdc.gov/hepatitis. On this site, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides guidelines, recommendations, and statistics on viral hepatitis in the United States, as well as resources for patients and providers.