It is possible to develop viral hepatitis with or without the risk factors listed below. However, the more risk factors you have, the greater your likelihood of developing viral hepatitis. If you have a number of risk factors, ask your doctor what you can do to reduce your risk.
Risk factors for hepatitis vary, depending on the type of hepatitis.
Infants born to mothers with
CChildren in daycare centersChildcare workers who change diapers or toilet train childrenMen who have sex with menPeople who have anal sexPeople who have multiple sex partners
People who inject illicit
and share needles
Having close contact with someone who has the diseaseUsing household items that were used by an infected person and not properly cleanedHaving sexual contact with multiple partners
Having sexual contact with someone who has hepatitis or a
sexually transmitted diseaseInjecting drugs, especially if you use shared needles
cocaineGetting a tattoo or body piercing—The needles may not be properly sterilized.
Having a job that involves contact with bodily fluids, such as:
Caring for children who are not toilet-trainedFirst aid or emergency workerFuneral directorHealthcare workersDentistDental assistantFirefighterPolice personnel
or E: traveling to a country where hepatitis A or E is common or where there is poor sanitation
Conditions and procedures that increase the risk of hepatitis include:
or other disorders of blood clotting
Kidney disease requiring
, especially prior to 1992 when better screening tests were developed
Receiving multiple transfusions of blood or blood productsReceiving a solid organ transplant, especially prior to 1992 when improved screening tests were developedPersistent elevation of certain liver function tests (found in people with undiagnosed liver problems)Sexually transmitted disease
Overview of acute viral hepatitis. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/hepatic-and-biliary-disorders/hepatitis/overview-of-acute-viral-hepatitis. Updated June 2010. Accessed January 19, 2011.
Overview of chronic viral hepatitis. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/hepatic-and-biliary-disorders/hepatitis/overview-of-chronic-hepatitis. Updated July 2010. Accessed January 19, 2011.
Viral hepatitis. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at:
Updated October 15, 2010. Accessed January 19, 2011.
What I need to know about Hepatitis B. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. Available at:
Accessed January 19, 2011.
Last reviewed March 2016 by David L. Horn, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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