TABLE 1-1 Key Characteristics of Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C

 

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis C

Causative agent

Partially double-stranded DNA virus

Enveloped, positive-strand RNA virus

 

Hepadnaviridae family

Hepacavirus genus, Flaviviridae family

Statistics

In the United States, 0.8–1.4 million people are chronically infected with HBV

In the United States, 2.7–3.9 million people are chronically infected with HCV

Routes of transmission

Contact with infectious blood, semen, and other body fluids, primarily through:

  • Birth to an infected mother

  • Sexual contact with an infected person

  • Sharing of contaminated needles, syringes, or other injection-drug equipment

Contact with blood of an infected person, primarily through:

  • Sharing of contaminated needles, syringes, or other injection-drug equipment

 

Less commonly through:

  • Sexual contact with an infected person

  • Birth to an infected mother

  • Contact with infectious blood through medical procedures

 

Less commonly through:

  • Contact with infectious blood through medical procedures

Persons at risk

  • Persons born in geographic regions that have HBsAg prevalence of at least 2%

  • Infants born to infected mothers

  • Household contacts of persons who have chronic HBV infection

  • Sex partners of infected persons

  • Injection-drug users

  • Sexually active persons who are not in long-term, mutually monogamous relationships (for example, more than one sex partner during previous 6 months)

  • Men who have sex with men

  • Persons who have ever injected illegal drugs, including those who injected only once many years ago

  • Recipients of clotting-factor concentrates made before 1987

  • Recipients of blood transfusions or solid-organ transplants before July 1992

  • Patients who have ever received long-term hemodialysis treatment

  • Persons who have known exposures to HCV, such as health-care workers after needlesticks involving HCV-positive blood and recipients of blood or organs from donors who later tested HCV-positive

  • All persons who have HIV infection



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