Skip to content

    Hepatitis Health Center

    Select An Article
    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Cause

    Hepatitis C is a liver disease that is caused by infection with the hepatitis C virus, a virus that lives in your liver cells.

    How it spreads

    You cannot get hepatitis C from casual contact such as hugging, kissing, sneezing, coughing, or sharing food or water with someone. You can get hepatitis C if you come into contact with the blood of someone who has hepatitis C.

    The most common way to get hepatitis C is by sharing needles and other equipment (such as cotton, spoons, and water) used to inject illegal drugs.

    Before 1992, people could get hepatitis C through blood transfusions and organ transplants. Since 1992, all donated blood and organs are screened for hepatitis C, so it is now rare to get the virus this way.

    In rare cases, a mother with hepatitis C spreads the virus to her baby at birth, or a health care worker is accidentally exposed to blood that is infected with hepatitis C.

    The risk of getting hepatitis C through sexual contact is very small.1 The risk is higher if you have many sex partners.

    If you live with someone who has hepatitis C or you know someone who has hepatitis C, you generally don't need to worry about getting the disease from that person. You can help protect yourself by not sharing anything that may have blood on it, such as razors, toothbrushes, and nail clippers.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: June 20, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    Hepatitus C virus
    Types, symptoms and treatments.
    liver illustration
    Myths and facts about this essential organ.
     
    woman eating apple
    What you need to know.
    doctor and patient
    What causes it?
     
    Hepatitis C Treatment
    Article
    Syringes and graph illustration
    Tool
     
    liver illustration
    Quiz
    passport, pills and vaccine
    Slideshow
     
    Scientist looking in microscope
    Slideshow
    Fatty Liver Disease
    Article
     
    Digestive Diseases Liver Transplantation
    Article
    Picture Of The Liver
    Image Collection