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Who Is Affected by Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is one of the most easily spread (contagious) forms of viral hepatitis, which include hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E.

  • About 38,000 new hepatitis B virus (HBV) infections occurred in the United States in 2009.1
  • About 1.2 million Americans have long-term (chronic) hepatitis B, and many acquired their infection in childhood.1
  • In the U.S., hepatitis B is most common in people ages 25 to 44.1 People at greatest risk for HBV infection are those who inject illegal drugs, those who have more than one sex partner, and men who have sex with men.2
  • Each year, about 3,000 people die in the U.S. from illnesses related to HBV infection.1
  • Worldwide, chronic HBV infection is a major cause of chronic liver disease and liver cancer.


  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2012). Hepatitis B FAQs for health professionals. Available online:

  2. American Academy of Pediatrics (2009). Hepatitis B. In LK Pickering et al., eds., Red Book: 2009 Report of the Committee on Infectious Diseases, 28th ed., pp. 337-356. Elk Grove Village, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerKathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerW. Thomas London, MD - Hepatology

Current as ofNovember 14, 2014

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 14, 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.

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