Hepatitis D Infection Fact Sheet
(adapted from materials developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
On this page:
Report to Minnesota Department of Health
Signs and Symptoms
Treatment and Medical Management
Trends and Statistics
- Report the following to the Minnesota Department of Health:
- Hepatitis D infection
- Report to the Minnesota Department of Health by any of the following methods:
- Phone: 651-201-5414 or 1-877-676-5414 (toll free)
- Fax: 651-201-5501
- Mail: Minnesota Department of Health Disease Report Card, P.O. Box 64975, St. Paul, MN 55164-0975
- Hepatitis D virus (HDV) is a defective, single-stranded RNA virus that requires the helper function of the hepatitis B virus (HBV) to replicate.
- HDV infection causes hepatitis only in persons with acute or chronic HBV infection; the HDV cannot produce infection in the absence of HBsAg.
- Symptoms are indistinguishable from HBV infection, whether HBV-HDV co-infection (simultaneously acquired) or superinfection (HDV acquired by a person with chronic HBV infection)
- Severe acute disease and higher risk of fulminant hepatitis with HBV-HDV co-infection
- The average incubation period for:
- Co-infection is 90 days (range 45-160 days)
- Superinfection is approximately 2-8 weeks.
- severe acute disease
- low risk of chronic infection
- usually development of chronic HDV infection
- High risk of severe chronic liver disease
- Percutaneous exposure; injecting drug use
- Permucosal exposure
- Sexual transmission is less common
- Perinatal transmission is rare
- Persons at risk for HBV infection might also be at risk for infection with hepatitis C virus (HCV) or HIV
- Persons with HBV-HDV superinfection are the primary reservoirs of infection.
- Injection drug users
- Persons with hemophilia
- Infants/children of immigrants from areas with high rates of HBV infection
- Household contacts of chronically infected persons
- Persons with multiple sex partners or diagnosis of a sexually transmitted disease
- Men who have sex with men
- Sexual contacts of infected persons
- Infants born to infected mothers
- Health care and public safety workers
- Hemodialysis patients
- HBV-HDV co-infection:
- Pre- or postexposure prophylaxis to prevent HBV infection
- HBV-HDV superinfection:
- Education to reduce risk behaviors among persons with chronic HBV infection.
- Hepatitis B vaccine is the best protection.
- Latex condoms are recommended for sexually active individuals, especially those
- having sex with more than one partner. The efficacy of latex condoms in preventing infection with HBV is unknown, but their proper use may reduce transmission.
- Pregnant women should get a blood test for HBV. Infants born to HBV-infected mothers should be given HBIG (hepatitis B immune globulin) and vaccine within 12 hours after birth.
- Injection drug users should be encouraged to discontinue injection drug use and to enroll in a treatment program; to never share needles, syringes, water, or "works;" and to get vaccinated against hepatitis A virus (HAV) and HBV.
- Individuals should not share personal care items that might be contaminated with blood (i.e. razors, toothbrushes).
- Patients should be encouraged to consider the risks of tattoos or body piercings.
- Patients who have had HBV should not donate blood, organs, or tissue.
- Health care or public safety workers should get vaccinated against HBV, always follow routine barrier precautions, and safely handle needles and other sharps
- See Vaccine Recommendations section of Hepatitis B.
- Because HDV cannot be transmitted in the absence of HBV infection, hepatitis B immunization protects against HDV infection.
- Carriers of HBsAg should take extreme care to avoid exposure to HDV because no currently available immunobiologic exists for prevention of HDV superinfection.
- Supportive care
- Carriers of HBsAg should take extreme care to avoid exposure to HDV because no currently available immunobiologic exists for the prevention of HDV superinfection
- While HDV prevalence in the U.S. is low, it is most commonly found in parenteral drug users, persons with hemophilia, and persons immigrating from endemic areas.
- CDC website on HDV (Attention: Non-MDH link)
- Pickering L, eds. “Red Book 2000 Report of the Committee on Infectious Diseases, 25th ed.” 2000, American Academy of Pediatrics.
- Atkinson W, Wolfe C, eds. “Epidemiology and Prevention of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases, 7th ed.” Jan 2002, DHHS-CDC.