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Am I at risk for Hepatitis? 

There are five forms of Hepatitis (Hep). Hepatitis A, B, C, D and E. Hepatitis is a disease of the liver caused by a virus.

• Hep D and E are uncommon in the United States, but Hep E is common in other parts of the world and is usually associated with a contaminated water supply. Hep D is spread through contact with infected blood.

• Hep A is spread through close contact or ingestion of even microscopic (undetectable to the senses) fecal particles in food or drinks. Vaccinations for Hep A are recommended for children one year of age and at-risk adults.

• Hep B can be more serious than A, sometimes leading to chronic illness, liver disease or even cancer. Hep B is spread through contact with infected blood, semen and other bodily fluids. Having sex with an infected person and sharing needles can put you at high risk for Hep B. Mothers who have the disease can also pass it to their newborns. Vaccinations for Hep B are recommended for all infants, children and teens that were not vaccinated as well as for at-risk adults.

• Hep C usually becomes a chronic illness that can lead to cirrhosis of the liver and liver cancer. It is spread through contact with infected blood, most commonly by sharing needles.

• There are no vaccines Hepatitis C or D and no FDA approved vaccine for Hepatitis E.

If you would like to schedule a Hepatitis vaccination, receive treatment or get more information from an East Jefferson General Hospital physician, contact HealthFinder at 504-456-5000 or visit www.ejgh.org.

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