Is Hepatitis B Contagious?

  • Medical Author:
    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Jaundice Symptoms

A person with jaundice may experience any of the following signs and symptoms

  • Pale-colored stools
  • Dark urine
  • Itchy skin
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Headache

What is hepatitis B?

  • Hepatitis B is a liver infection caused by the Hepatitis B virus (HBV). To avoid confusion, the term hepatitis B will be used to indicate the liver disease and HBV will be used to designate the infecting virus.
  • Hepatitis B can occur as an acute or short-term illness; in other individuals it may become a chronic infection.
  • Chronic infections occur mainly in infected infants (about 90%) while only about 2%-6% of adults become chronically infected; chronic infections may lead to cirrhosis or liver cancer.

Is hepatitis B contagious?

The disease, hepatitis B, is contagious. HBV, the viral cause of hepatitis B, is transmitted person-to-person by

  • blood,
  • semen, or
  • any other body fluid from the infected person.

Moreover, hepatitis B can be transferred through sexual contact, sharing needles, or from mother to baby at the time of birth.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/20/2016

Subscribe to MedicineNet's Newsletters

Get the latest health and medical information delivered direct to your inbox!

By clicking Submit, I agree to the MedicineNet's Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet's subscriptions at any time.

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors