Viral Hepatitis Types and Symptoms

"Hepatitis A is a vaccine-preventable, communicable disease of the liver 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. Most adults and older children with hepatitis A have symptoms that usually resolve within 2 months of infection; most children less than 6 years of age do not have symptoms or have an unrecognized infection. Signs and symptoms associated with hepatitis A infection may include one or more 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 may include rest, adequate nutrition, and fluids. Hospitalization may be required for more severe cases. The best way to prevent hepatitis A infection is to get 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 not infected. This can happen through sexual contact; sharing needles, syringes, or other drug-injection equipment; or from mother to baby at birth. For some people, hepatitis B is an acute, or short-term, illness but for others, it can become a long-term, chronic infection. Chronic hepatitis B can lead to serious health issues, including cirrhosis, liver cancer, and death. There are treatments but no cure for hepatitis B. The best way to prevent hepatitis B is by getting vaccinated(2,3).

"Hepatitis C is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV). HCV is a blood-borne virus. Today, most people become infected with HCV by sharing needles or other equipment to inject drugs(4). For some people, hepatitis C is a short-term illness but for more than 50% of people who become infected with the hepatitis C virus, 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. Many people might not be aware of their infection because they are not clinically ill. Since 2013 there have been highly effective, well-tolerated cures for hepatitis C. There is no vaccine to prevent hepatitis C(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 — United States, 2018. Published July 2020. Accessed March 8, 2021.