Most outbreaks of viral hepatitis in India are caused by hepatitis E. This report describes an outbreak of hepatitis B in a rural population in Haryana state in 1997. At least 54 cases of jaundice occurred in Dhottar village (population 3096) during a period of 8 months; 18 (33.3%) of them died. Virtually all fatal cases were adults and tested positive for HBsAg (other markers not done). About 88% (21/24) of surviving cases had acute or persistent HBV/HCV infections; 54% (13/24) had acute hepatitis B. Many other villages reported sporadic cases and deaths. Data were pooled from these villages for analysis of risk factors. Acute hepatitis B cases had received injections before illness more frequently (11/19) than those found negative for acute or persistent HBV/HCV infections (3/17) (P = 0.01). Although a few cases had other risk factors, these were equally prevalent in two groups. The results linked the outbreak to the use of unnecessary therapeutic injections.