Viral Hepatitis Types and Symptoms
"Hepatitis A is a vaccine-preventable liver disease caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV). HAV is usually transmitted person-to-person through the fecal–oral route or through consumption of contaminated food or water. The majority of adults and older children with hepatitis A have symptoms that usually resolve ≤2 months after infection; children aged <6 years usually do not have symptoms, or they have an unrecognized infection. Signs and symptoms associated with hepatitis A can include ≥1 of the following: fever, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, dark urine, and clay-colored stools. Hepatitis A is a self-limited disease that does not result in chronic infection. Treatment for HAV infection might include rest, adequate nutrition, and fluids. Hospitalization might be required for more severe cases. The best way to prevent hepatitis A is by being vaccinated(1).
"Hepatitis B is a vaccine-preventable liver disease caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). HBV is transmitted when blood, semen, or another body fluid from a person infected with the virus enters the body of someone who is uninfected. This can happen through sexual contact; sharing needles, syringes, or other drug-injection equipment; or from mother to baby at birth. For some persons, hepatitis B is an acute, or short-term, illness; for others, it can become a longterm, chronic infection. Chronic hepatitis B can lead to serious health problems, including cirrhosis, liver cancer, and death. Treatments are available, but no cure exists for hepatitis B. The best way to prevent hepatitis B is by being vaccinated(2,3).
"Hepatitis C is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV). HCV is a bloodborne virus. Today in the United States, the majority of persons become infected with HCV by sharing needles or other equipment used in injecting drugs(4). For certain persons, hepatitis C is a short-term illness, but for >50% of persons who become infected with the HCV, it becomes a long-term, chronic infection(5). Like chronic hepatitis B, chronic hepatitis C is a serious disease that can result in cirrhosis, liver cancer, and death. Persons might not be aware of their infection because they are not clinically ill. However, since 2013, a highly effective, well-tolerated curative treatment has been available for hepatitis C, but no vaccine for preventing hepatitis C is yet available(6). The best way to prevent hepatitis C is by avoiding behaviors that can spread the disease, especially injecting drugs."
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Viral Hepatitis Surveillance Report – United States, 2019. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; May 2021.