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Hepatitis

The word “hepatitis” means inflammation of the liver. Hepatitis can have many causes including drugs, alcohol, autoimmune illnesses and viruses like hepatitis A, B, C, D, E, and G. Hepatitis A, B and C are the most common types of viral hepatitis in Canada. Please note: Many people who are infected with viral hepatitis will have no symptoms.

 

Did you know?

  • 400 million people worldwide are living with hepatitis B and C
  • 4000 people die every day of viral hepatitis
  • Many people who have hepatitis B and C are not aware of their infection
  • There are vaccines for hepatitis A and B
  • There is no vaccine for hepatitis C
  • Hepatitis B and C are treatable
  • Hepatitis C is curable

Symptoms

If you do have symptoms, they can include:

  • fever
  • body aches
  • stomach pain
  • nausea
  • fatigue
  • jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes)
  • dark (tea coloured) urine
 

Jaundice

Image of an eye with jaundice

 

Because many of these infections are unrecognized, viral hepatitis is the leading cause of liver cancer and liver transplant in Canada.

All viral hepatitis infections are reportable diseases in Canada. Each time a person tests positive for one of these infections the local Health Department is notified and staff follow-up with the doctor and patient.

We provide information on the infection, ways the infection can be spread to others, and offer recommendations on follow up testing and lifestyle changes. We ask you and your doctor questions about where and when you may have been infected. If the infection is recent, sometimes medication is given to close contacts to prevent them from getting infected.

If you think you have been exposed to viral hepatitis or if you have symptoms of hepatitis, see your health care provider or go to the nearest emergency department for assessment. Specific blood tests can be done to see if you have been exposed recently or in the past.

If you have questions or concerns about hepatitis and would like to speak with a public health professional, please call 519-663-5317 ext. 2330.

 
Date of creation: February 20, 2013
Last modified on: July 21, 2017