Minor infections are often diagnosed through the symptoms, such as in cases of the cold or flu. More serious cases-or a more specific diagnosis-can be obtained from a culture test. Your doctor will send a sample of your blood or the infection (taken via a mouth swab, for example) to a lab that will test it. Parasite infections are often diagnosed by looking for evidence of the parasite or its eggs in a stool sample.
Gary L. Simon, MD
Specialty: Infectious Disease
- infectious disease
- internal medicine
Location and Office HoursGW Medical Faculty Associates
2150 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20037
- The George Washington University Hospital
- How are infections diagnosed?
How does the hepatitis virus spread?
Hepatitis A is spread through food or water contaminated by feces from a person who has the virus. You can get hepatitis A by eating food prepared by an infected person. You can also get the disease by drinking contaminated water in places with poor sanitary conditions.
Hepatitis B spreads through contact with an infected person's blood, semen, or other body fluids. You can get hepatitis B by having sex with an infected person without a condom, sharing drug needles, or sharing a toothbrush or razor with an infected person. A woman with hepatitis B can give the virus to her baby at birth.
Hepatitis C spreads through contact with an infected person's blood. You can get hepatitis C by sharing drug needles or being pricked with a needle that has infected blood on it.
This information is based on source information from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
Are there different types of hepatitis?
Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver linked to five main causes of liver disease: viral infection, autoimmune disorders, drugs, alcohol, and exposure to toxins. Hepatitis is also a term used to describe the five hepatitis viruses- A, B, C, D, and E.
See all Infectious Disease questions
- Hepatitis A is transmitted through food, water, and objects contaminated with feces as well as from close contract with an infected person.
- Hepatitis B is transmitted through bodily fluids and blood including objects contaminated with infected fluids or blood.
- Hepatitis C is primarily transmitted through blood, including items contaminated with infected blood such as needles and personal hygiene products.
- Hepatitis D can only occur in people already infected with hepatitis B.
- Hepatitis E is rare in the United States but common in parts of the world where water is often contaminated with feces due to poor sanitation.