Dr. William Lee of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas says donated blood is now routinely screened for viruses so hepatitis B and C are no longer contracted through the blood supply, but spread mainly by injection drug use and by sexual transmission.
Hepatitis A can be contracted through food borne transmission or hand-to-mouth exposure to individuals during their infection.
Lee recommends obtaining vaccinations for hepatitis A and B if at high risk of exposure. High-risk groups include people those who eat raw clams, oysters and mussels frequently; work in day-care centers; use illegal drugs or travel to developing countries.
Among steps the doctor recommends people take to avoid contracting hepatitis:
-- Washing hands with soap and water after bowel movements and before handling food.
-- Using latex condoms during sex.
-- Avoiding the sharing of insulin lancets, pens or syringes.
-- Not sharing personal items such as toothbrushes, razors and nail clippers.
-- Not getting tattoos.