If you've just been diagnosed with hepatitis C, you may worry about passing on the virus to a loved one. If you've had the disease for a long time without knowing it, you may dwell on every little incident in the past where you might have accidentally exposed a family member to the disease.
"Worrying about passing on the disease is pretty common," says Alan Franciscus, executive director of the Hepatitis C Support Project in San Francisco. "I see a lot of people who are HCV positive who are more...
A virus that causes hepatitis can be spread from one person to
another. Hepatitis B, C, and D viruses are spread when an uninfected person
comes in contact with blood, semen, or vaginal fluid (including menstrual
blood) that is infected with one of these viruses. Hepatitis A and E viruses
are spread by contaminated food and water or by coming in direct contact with
contaminated stool (feces). Hepatitis E is very rare in developed countries.
Hepatitis D only occurs along with hepatitis B.
In their early stages, these viruses are difficult to tell apart.
However, within several weeks after infection occurs, blood tests can show
which of the viruses is the cause of hepatitis (with the exception of hepatitis
E, for which a blood test is not widely available).
The following viruses are less common causes of hepatitis and can be
diagnosed using blood tests: