Video Q&A With Dr. Moore
Ask Dr. Moore questions about hepatitis. Review the questions to the right and click on the one(s) you'd like answered.
Brad B. Moore, MD, MPH
Dr. Moore has been compensated by GSK for his participation in this educational program.
Hepatitis is a general term for several different types of liver problems that include infection. The word “hepatitis” actually means “inflammation of the liver.” It can result in temporary or permanent damage to the liver. There are many types of hepatitis. Hepatitis A and hepatitis B are viral infections that are vaccine preventable. Hepatitis C is not vaccine preventable
Hepatitis A virus is present in the stool of the infected person. Hepatitis A can be spread through close personal contact. It can also be spread by eating food or drinking water that has been contaminated with the hepatitis A virus. Hepatitis A virus can be spread to other people in the same household. Say an infected person doesn't wash his or her hands properly after going to the bathroom, and then prepares food—that could spread hepatitis A virus to others. Or a parent or caregiver doesn't properly wash his or her hands after changing diapers or cleaning up the stool of an infected person—that could spread hepatitis A virus to others.
Hepatitis B virus can be spread through contact with body fluids, including blood and semen of an infected person. It can be spread when infected body fluid enters the body of a person who is not immune.
Sharing razors, toothbrushes, needles, syringes, or other drug-injection equipment with an infected person can result in exposure to the hepatitis B virus.
It's also possible for hepatitis B to be spread through contaminated equipment that has not been properly sterilized or needles used in cosmetic procedures, such as tattoos and body piercing.
Healthcare providers, because they are more likely to be exposed to blood or body fluids, are also at risk of acquiring hepatitis B.
A mother with hepatitis B can pass the virus to her baby during delivery.
Yes. A person can have hepatitis A or hepatitis B and be contagious without having any symptoms of these diseases.
Let's talk about hepatitis A first. Some people with hepatitis A, especially children, may have no symptoms. Someone infected with hepatitis A can transmit the virus to others up to 2 weeks before symptoms appear.
People acutely infected with hepatitis B may not have symptoms that they notice.
People with chronic hepatitis B can remain symptom-free for many years. Even without having symptoms these people are still contagious and can infect others who are not immune to hepatitis B.
Yes. The hepatitis A virus can survive outside the body for many days, potentially contaminating food and water. High temperatures, such as boiling or cooking food or liquids for at least a minute at 185°F (or 85°C), kill the hepatitis A virus, although freezing temperatures do not.
Hepatitis B virus can survive outside the body for 7 days. During that time, the virus can still cause infection if it enters the body of a person who is not immune.
Yes, both hepatitis A and hepatitis B are vaccine preventable and can be quite serious.
Most people with hepatitis B will recover after the acute illness, but a small number die because of this acute infection. Also, about 5% will develop chronic hepatitis B infection, and about 25% of people with chronic hepatitis B infection die from liver damage (cirrhosis) or liver cancer.
Some people are at greater risk of infection with hepatitis A and/or hepatitis B, because of lifestyle choice, sexual practices, occupation, or because of people they come in contact with or places they visit.
For individuals with known risk factors, vaccination is recommended.
Talk to your healthcare provider to find out if vaccination is right for you. According to the CDC, vaccination offers the best protection against hepatitis A and/or hepatitis B. Any adult seeking protection from hepatitis A and/or hepatitis B can be vaccinated if their healthcare provider thinks it's appropriate.
Of course, lifestyle changes can also help reduce your risk of getting hepatitis A and hepatitis B.
Talk to your healthcare provider to find out if vaccination is right for you.
Ask a question about hepatitis A and/or hepatitis B