Viral hepatitis refers to infections caused by viruses that directly attack the liver. Chronic cases of viral hepatitis can lead to life-threatening liver cirrhosis (or scarring), liver failure and liver cancer.

The most common forms of viral hepatitis are hepatitis A, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and hepatitis D.

Type of Viral Hepatitis Mode of Transmission / Prevention
Hepatitis A
(HAV)
  • Contaminated food and water.
  • There is a safe HAV vaccine.
Hepatitis B
(HAV)
  • Infected blood, sex, and needles.
  • From an infected mother to her newborn.
  • There is a safe HBV vaccine.
Hepatitis C
(HAV)
  • Infected blood and needles.
  • There is no vaccine.
Hepatitis D
(HAV)
  • Must already have hepatitis B.
  • Infected blood, sex, and needles.
  • From an infected mother to her newborn.
  • Get the hepatitis B vaccine.
Hepatitis E
(HAV)
  • Contaminated water.
  • There is no vaccine.