Hepatitis in Healthcare Settings

Hepatitis A, B, and C are viruses that are easily spread in healthcare settings. All Hepatitis viruses can cause permanent damage to the liver.

(Adapted from Hepatitis in Healthcare Settings | HAI | CDC

Hepatitis A

Healthcare-associated hepatitis A virus (HAV) occurs infrequently. 

  • Spread by the fecal-oral route 
  • Transmission to healthcare personnel usually occurs when the source patient has unrecognized hepatitis and is fecally incontinent or has diarrhea. 

Other risk factors for hepatitis A virus (HAV) transmission include: 

  • Eating or drinking in patient care areas 
  • Not washing hands after handling an infected infant 
  • Sharing food, beverages, or cigarettes with patients, their families, or staff members. 

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV) 

HBV can cause: 

  • Lifelong infection 
  • Cirrhosis (scarring) of the liver 
  • Liver cancer 
  • Liver failure, and 
  • Death. 

Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV). 

HCV can cause: 

  • Lifelong infection, 
  • Cirrhosis, or 
  • Liver cancer. 

HBV and HCV spread in healthcare settings when: 

  • Blood or other body fluid from an infected person 
  • Primarily through: 
  • Contaminated needles 
  • Syringes, or 
  • Other sharp instruments. 

The spread of HCV from one person to another in healthcare settings is rare, but can occur.