Risks of hepatitis D

Find out what the risks of hepatitis D are and if you are at risk.

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What are the risks of being infected with hepatitis D?

If you have not been vaccinated against hepatitis B, you may be at risk of getting infected with hepatitis D.

The most common risk factors for hepatitis D infection include:

  • sharing drug paraphernalia, such as:
    • needles (for injection)
    • spoons (for cooking)
    • straws (for snorting)
    • pipes (for smoking)
  • having unprotected sex with multiple sexual partners
  • being born or living in a region where hepatitis B is widespread
  • being born to a mother with hepatitis B and then getting the infection
    • this is very rare in Canada because babies born from mothers with hepatitis B are vaccinated against the virus
  • being exposed to blood or blood products (transfusions) in regions without infection control measures where hepatitis B is widespread
  • sharing contaminated medical or dental equipment
  • sharing personal care items with infected people, such as:
    • razors
    • scissors
    • nail clippers
    • toothbrushes

You can also be infected with hepatitis D by getting:

  • pricked by a needle or cut by sharp equipment contaminated with infected blood or bodily fluids in the workplace
  • tattooed, pierced or acupunctured with unsterilized equipment

You may also be at risk if you received a blood transfusion or an organ transplantation in Canada prior to 1970.

What are the risks to travellers?

The virus is widespread in:

  • Mediterranean countries
  • the Middle East
  • Central Africa
  • northern parts of South America

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