Hepatitis D Incubation Period

The hepatitis D incubation period is the time between transmission of the hepatitis D virus and the start of hepatitis D symptoms. This period can be as short as 30 days or as long as 180 days. How long the incubation period lasts is dependent on the number of virus particles a person is exposed to. People with hepatitis D begin to be contagious early during the hepatitis D incubation period -- and are thought to be most contagious right before symptoms begin.

An Overview of the Hepatitis D Incubation Period

When a person becomes infected with the hepatitis D virus (HDV) and has an active hepatitis B infection, the virus begins to multiply within the liver cells. As more and more of the hepatitis D virus is made in the liver cells, they can become damaged and may even die. If the person does not have active hepatitis B, the hepatitis D virus will not be able to multiply.
 
For people who are infected with the hepatitis B virus at the same time as the hepatitis D virus, symptoms of hepatitis D can begin 4 weeks to 12 weeks (on average) after infection with the hepatitis D virus. This period between hepatitis D transmission and the start of hepatitis D symptoms is called the "hepatitis D incubation period." The hepatitis D incubation period can be as short as 30 days or as long as 180 days. The length of the incubation period is dependent of the number of virus particles a person is exposed to. Infection with very few particles results in a longer incubation period. It is also thought that people who already have hepatitis B when they are infected with HDV will have a shorter incubation period. In these cases, the incubation period is thought to be between 2 weeks and 10 weeks.
 

Is a Person Contagious During the Hepatitis D Incubation Period?

A person is contagious during the hepatitis D incubation period. Someone who is infected with hepatitis D begins to be contagious early in the incubation period. The point at which a person is thought to be most contagious is right before symptoms begin. If a person develops chronic hepatitis D, he or she remains contagious indefinitely.

Hepatitis D Information

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