Hepatitis refers to an inflammatory condition of the liver, commonly caused by a viral infection. The hepatitis virus can be transmitted in a number of ways, such as fecal-oral, sexual, parenteral or sporadic transmission. The prognosis for each viral hepatitis however is varied, depending on the causative virus.

Hepatitis A—Derives from an infection with the hepatitis A virus (HAV). This type of hepatitis is most commonly transmitted by consuming food or water contaminated by feces from a person infected with hepatitis A.

Hepatitis B—Derives from an infection with the hepatitis B virus (HBV). This type is transmitted through puncture wounds or contact with infectious body fluids, such as blood, saliva, or semen. Injection drug use, having sex with an infected partner, or sharing razors with an infected person. It is a chronic type.

Hepatitis C—Derives from the hepatitis C virus (HCV). It is transmitted through direct contact with infected body fluids, typically through injection drug use and sexual contact. Also a chronic type.

Hepatitis D—A rare form of hepatitis that occurs in conjunction with hepatitis B infection.

Hepatitis E—A waterborne disease caused by the hepatitis E virus (HEV). It is mainly found in areas with poor sanitation and is typically caused by ingesting fecal matter.

Signs and symptoms of acute hepatitis appear quickly. They include:

  • Fatigue
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Dark urine
  • Pale stool
  • Abdominal pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Yellow skin and eyes, which may be signs of jaundice

Since chronic hepatitis develops slowly, these signs and symptoms may be too subtle to notice.


The diagnosis of hepatitis is found through a very thorough history and physical exam conducted by the attending physician. Several other tests may also be requested, such as:

  • Liver biopsy
  • Liver Function Tests
  • Ultrasound
  • Blood tests to detect the presence of hepatitis virus antibodies
  • Viral Antibody



Overall, the treatment options for hepatitis depends on the type of viral infection it is. Whether it is acute or chronic, bed rest and fluid and nutrient monitoring is important. Antiviral drugs can also be used, however surgery by liver transplant is the best treatment option available.

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