Contagious: Hepatitis B


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About contagion: Contagion and contagiousness refers to how easily the spread of Hepatitis B is possible from one person to another. Other words for contagion include "infection", "infectiousness", "transmission" or "transmissability". Contagiousness has nothing to do with genetics or inheriting diseases from parents. For an overview of contagion, see Introduction to Contagion.

Contagion summary: Spread by blood, sexual fluids, vaginal secretions and bodily fluids. Not spread by casual contact such as handshakes. Has been found in saliva, urine, sweat, tears, and breast milk but transmission is unlikely.


Contagiousness properties of Hepatitis B:
  Contagious overall?: Yes
  Contagious by sex?: Yes
  Contagious by oral sex?: Yes
  Contagious by anal sex?: Yes
  Contagious by vaginal sex?: Yes
  Contagious by physical contact (non-sexual)?: No
  Contagious by handshake?: No
  Contagious from kissing?: Possibly although unlikely, Hep B virus has been found in saliva.
  Contagious from saliva?: Possibly although unlikely, Hep B virus has been found in saliva.
  Contagious from body fluids?: Yes
  Contagious from urine?: Possibly although unlikely, Hep B virus has been found in urine.
  Contagious breastfeeding mother to infant?: Yes, Hep B virus has been found in breast milk.

Contagion summary: Through contact with infected blood, through sex with an infected person, and from mother to child during childbirth. 1

Footnotes:
1. excerpt from Viral Hepatitis A to E and Beyond: NIDDK

Last revision: May 29, 2003

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