reviewed 9/10/2018

Hepatitis: True or false?

Hepatitis, an inflammation of the liver, is usually caused by a virus. How much do you know about viral hepatitis? Test your knowledge with this quiz.

True or false: Hepatitis is caused by a single virus.

False. There are several types of viruses that cause hepatitis, including hepatitis A, B, C, D and E. It's thought there are still-undiscovered hepatitis-causing viruses as well.

True or false: You can only get viral hepatitis by abusing injection drugs.

False. Hepatitis A is spread mainly through contaminated food or water; type A also spreads through sex and close personal contact. Hepatitis B spreads through contact with blood or through sex. It can also pass from an infected mother to her baby during birth. Hepatitis C is usually spread through blood, especially blood transfusions done before 1992.

True or false: Hepatitis can last a lifetime.

True. In some cases, hepatitis is mild and lasts a few weeks or months. Other times, however, hepatitis B, C, D and E can each develop into a chronic, lifelong illness. Without treatment, this can lead to more serious issues, such as liver cancer, liver failure and death.

True or false: If you have hepatitis B, you're also at risk for getting hepatitis D.

True. Like some other types of hepatitis, type D is spread through contact with infected blood. Unlike other forms, however, it can only occur in people who also have hepatitis B.

True or false: If you've had standard vaccinations, you're protected against hepatitis.

False. All children should be vaccinated against hepatitis A and B. The vaccine for type B will also help protect you from type D. However, there is no available vaccine for hepatitis C or E. To protect yourself from type C:

  • Practice food hygiene.
  • Use a latex condom during sex.
  • Don't share personal items such as nail clippers, razors and toothbrushes.

One symptom of hepatitis is jaundice: a yellowing of the eyes and skin. Other symptoms include fatigue, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever and headache.

Learn more about hepatitis

Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Immunizations Action Coalition; National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

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