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Hepatitis: Frequently asked questions.


Local Government Association, Public Health England

Type: Article
Region: Republic of Ireland
Northern Ireland

These FAQs on hepatitis have been produced by the Local Government Association (LGA) and Public Health England (PHE) to address questions that councillors may have on hepatitis and the viruses that cause it. Hepatitis is inflammation of the liver and can be caused by toxic or infectious agents. Viral hepatitis can be caused by a number of different hepatitis viruses of which A, B and C are among the commonest. These viruses differ in key features which affect diagnosis, prevention and control. This document focuses on hepatitis B and C because both viruses can persist in the liver for many years (so called ââ,¬Å"chronic infectionââ,¬Â). Chronic infection can cause liver damage and, after many years, lead to liver failure and liver cancer in around 15 per cent to 25 per cent of infected individuals. Most people with chronic hepatitis B in the UK acquired infection at birth or during childhood overseas. Therefore, most severe complications from hepatitis B in the UK occur in migrant populations, particularly those born in Africa and Asia. Common risk groups for acquiring the infection in the UK include those who have multiple sexual partners or those who inject drugs. In contrast, most chronic hepatitis C infections are seen in people who have injected drugs in the UK. The prevalence of hepatitis C is also slightly higher in those born and raised in certain countries (including many in the Middle East and Asia), and in those who received blood products or blood transfusions in the UK before the introduction of virus inactivation and donor screening.



Rights: Public
Suggested citation:

Local Government Association, Public Health England. (2013) Hepatitis: Frequently asked questions. [Online]. Available from: [Accessed: 17th November 2019].


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