Skip to Content
Home > Wellness > Health Library > Viral Hepatitis
hepatitis is liver inflammation caused by infection
with a virus.
The following viruses cause most cases of viral hepatitis:
A virus that causes hepatitis can be spread from one person to
another. Hepatitis B, C, and D viruses are spread when an uninfected person
comes in contact with blood, semen, or vaginal fluid (including menstrual
blood) that is infected with one of these viruses. Hepatitis A and E viruses
are spread by contaminated food and water or by coming in direct contact with
contaminated stool (feces). Hepatitis E also might be spread by contact with an infected pig. Hepatitis E is very rare in developed countries.
Hepatitis D only occurs along with hepatitis B.
In their early stages, these viruses are difficult to tell apart.
But within several weeks after infection occurs, blood tests can show
which of the viruses is the cause of hepatitis (with the exception of hepatitis
E, for which a blood test is not widely available).
The following viruses are less common causes of hepatitis and can be
diagnosed using blood tests:
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerW. Thomas London, MD - Hepatology
Current as ofNovember 14, 2014
Current as of:
November 14, 2014
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & W. Thomas London, MD - Hepatology
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
To learn more, visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2015 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.