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Transmission

Hepatitis delta can be transmitted the same way as hepatitis B, through exposure to infected blood or body fluids. Hepatitis delta cannot be contracted on its own, so only people who already have hepatitis B or people at risk of contracting both viruses at the same time can contract it. 

Transmission:

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Through direct contact with infected blood or sexual fluids:

  • From an infected woman to her newborn during pregnancy and childbirth (although hepatitis B is most commonly transmitted this way, hepatitis delta transmission is thought to be uncommon)
  • Household contact with blood (sharing hygiene equipment such as razors, toothbrushes or earrings)
  • Tattoos, piercings, barbers, scarfiication, circumcision practices that may contain infected blood
  • Unsterile healthcare practices (medical/dental equipments or procedures that are contaminated or not sterile)
  • Sharing needles or use of illegal or “street” drugs
  • Unprotected sex (sex without a condom)

High-risk groups:

  • People living in or emigrating from countries where hepatitis delta is more common (Mongolia, Romania, Russia, Pakistan, India, the Middle East, Georgia, Turkey, Pakistan, West and Central Africa, and the Amazonian river basin)
  • People who use illegal or "street" drugs
  • Men who have sex with men
  • People with many sexual partners
  • People who frequently interact with medical systems; hemodialysis patients, blood transfusion recipients, those who may have gotten a medical procedure or surgery in a country where unsterile medical equipment may be used