Infectious diseases are caused by pathogenic microorganisms, such as bacteria, viruses, parasites or fungi; the diseases can be spread, directly or indirectly, from one person to another. Zoonotic diseases are infectious diseases of animals that can cause disease when transmitted to humans.
Hepatitis means swelling or inflammation of the liver. The most common causes of hepatitis are viral infections. Hepatitis B and hepatitis C are viral infections carried in the blood causing inflammation of the liver and potentially long-term damage. Hepatitis B is transmitted by contact with an infected person’s blood or, more commonly, through body fluids, particularly during sex. Hepatitis B is vaccine preventable. The most common means of transmission of hepatitis C is sharing equipment used for injecting drug use (blood to blood contact), there is no vaccine for hepatitis C.
Page updated July 2017