Health Library

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

References

Acute hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T913216/Acute-hepatitis-B-virus-HBV-infection. Updated May 14, 2018. Accessed April 18, 2019.

Acute hepatitis C infection. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T413896/Acute-hepatitis-C-infection. Updated November 15, 2018. Accessed April 18, 2019.

Chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115624/Chronic-hepatitis-B-virus-HBV-infection. Updated May 14, 2018. Accessed April 18, 2019.

Chronic hepatitis C infection. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115157/Chronic-hepatitis-C-infection. Updated January 31, 2019. Accessed April 18, 2019.

Hepatitis C—treatment of genotype 1. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T908659/Hepatitis-C-treatment-of-genotype-1. Updated December 2, 2018. Accessed April 18, 2019.

Hepatitis C—treatment of genotypes 2-6. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T906076/Hepatitis-C-treatment-of-genotypes-2-6. Updated December 2, 2018. Accessed April 18, 2019.

Hepatitis D virus (HDV) infection. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T233684/Hepatitis-D-virus-HDV-infection. Updated May 14, 2018. Accessed April 18, 2019.

Hepatitis E virus (HEV) infection. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116562/Hepatitis-E-virus-HEV-infection. 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.