Hepatitis Center

Hepatitis Causes and Risk Factors

What causes hepatitis?
Hepatitis is caused by a number of things including alcohol, drugs, chemicals and viral infections. For the most part, viruses cause most cases of hepatitis but inflammation of the liver can also result from bacterial, fungal, and parasitic organisms or from non- infectious causes. In other cases, your body mistakenly attacks its own tissues. Researchers are looking for other viruses that may cause hepatitis, but none have been identified with certainty.

Risk factors
Hepatitis can be influenced by several factors. The following list outlines possible factors that might contribute to the development of each particular type of hepatitis.

People most likely to get Hepatitis A are:

  • children in day care centers
  • children living in communities with high rates of disease
  • injecting-drug users
  • men who have sex with men
  • people with clotting-factor disorders
  • people in close personal contact with HAV infected person
  • people who eat raw shellfish harvested from sewage contaminated areas
  • people with chronic liver disease
  • people with poor access to fresh drinking water
  • people who swim in contaminated swimming pools and lakes

People most likely to get hepatitis B are:

  • children born to mothers who have Hepatitis B (the illness may present up to five years after the child is born)
  • health care workers
  • immigrants and their children from areas with high rates of hepatitis B, especially southeast Asia and China
  • hemodialysis patients
  • infants born to infected mothers
  • injection drug users
  • international travelers
  • men who have sex with men
  • persons diagnosed with a blood clotting disorder such as hemophilia
  • people who have a job that involves contact with human blood
  • people who live in long-term care facilities or who are disabled people who live with or have sexual contact with an infected person
  • people who require dialysis for kidney failure
  • people who received a transfusion of blood or blood products before 1987
  • people with multiple sex partners

People most likely to get Hepatitis C are:

  • children born to mothers who are infected with Hepatitis C
  • intravenous drug users
  • people diagnosed with a blood clotting disorder such as hemophilia and received clotting factors before 1987
  • people who have unprotected heterosexual or homosexual sexual contact
  • people who received a blood transfusion before 1992
  • peoeple who require dialysis for kidney failure

Do you know how to identify the symptoms of Hepatitis? While some of the symptoms of Hepatitis are well known, there are additional symptoms to look for. Some forms of Hepatitis are asymptomatic. Read the following symptoms section for more information about symptoms of Hepatitis C, B, and A.

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