Viral hepatitis is an infection of the liver that can be caused by consuming contaminated water or food, or through contact with infected blood, and spread by sharing contaminated needles/syringes or other drug use equipment, or having sex without a condom.

Scientists have identified six hepatitis viruses, but three - known as A, B and C - cause about 90 per cent of acute hepatitis infections in Canada. People with hepatitis can experience effects ranging from mild illness to serious liver damage. Many recover completely from an infection, while others become carriers and can spread the infection to others unknowingly. It is especially important for people who are pregnant or are trying to become pregnant to get tested for hepatitis.

Typical symptoms of acute hepatitis are:

  • Fever
  • Appetite loss
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Jaundice (yellowish colour on the skin and eyeballs).

Types of Hepatitis

Find out more about the causes, risk factors, transmission, prevention and treatment of viral hepatitis, and rates of infection within Canada.

Resources on Hepatitis

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