Risk Factors for Viral Hepatitis

A risk factor is something that raises your chances of getting a health problem. Hepatitis spreads when you are exposed to it from contaminated:

  • Stool
  • Blood
  • Semen
  • Vaginal fluid
  • Saliva
  • Food
  • Water
  • Animals
  • Items

The risk is higher for:

  • People with jobs in daycare, healthcare, or public safety
  • People who do not wash their hands well—especially after changing a diaper or using the bathroom
  • Close contact with someone who has or carries hepatitis—this includes having sex
  • Men who have sex with men
  • People who have anal sex or oral to anal sex
  • People who have many sex partners
  • People who have sex with someone who has a sexually transmitted infection (STI)
  • People who use IV drugs or share needles
  • Babies born to mothers with hepatitis B, C, or E
  • Exposure to items that are not sterilized correctly such as medical equipment, or tattoo or body piercing tools
  • Living in or traveling to countries with poor sanitation, raw sewage, or untreated water

Having certain health conditions or procedures such as:

  • Getting one or more blood transfusions, blood products, or organ transplants—mainly before 1992
  • Hemodialysis to treat kidney disease
  • Persistent higher than normal liver function tests
  • A weak immune system—from a disease or treatment
  • An STI or HIV
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References:

Acute hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.... Updated May 14, 2018. Accessed April 18, 2019.
Acute hepatitis C infection. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.... Updated November 15, 2018. Accessed April 18, 2019.
Chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.... Updated May 14, 2018. Accessed April 18, 2019.
Chronic hepatitis C infection. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.... Updated January 31, 2019. Accessed April 18, 2019.
Hepatitis C—treatment of genotype 1. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.... Updated December 2, 2018. Accessed April 18, 2019.
Hepatitis C—treatment of genotypes 2-6. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.... Updated December 2, 2018. Accessed April 18, 2019.
Hepatitis D virus (HDV) infection. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.... Updated May 14, 2018. Accessed April 18, 2019.
Hepatitis E virus (HEV) infection. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.... Updated February 28, 2018. Accessed April 18, 2019.
Overview of acute viral hepatitis. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/hepatic-and-biliary-disorders/hepatitis/overview-of-acute-viral-hepatitis. Updated January 2019. Accessed April 18, 2019.
Overview of chronic hepatitis. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/hepatic-and-biliary-disorders/hepatitis/overview-of-chronic-hepatitis. Updated January 2019. Accessed April 18, 2019.
Last reviewed February 2019 by David L. Horn, MD, FACP
Last Updated: 4/18/2019

 

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