Hepatitis is a general term referring to non-specific inflammation of the liver, which can be caused by multiple conditions, including viral infection. This form is intended to capture information regarding two forms of viral hepatitis infections, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C. Viral hepatitis is the leading cause of liver cancer and the most common reason for liver transplantation.1 Hepatitis B is caused by infection with the Hepatitis B virus (HBV); similarly, Hepatitis C is caused by infection with the Hepatitis C virus (HCV). Both Hepatitis B and C are spread through contact with infected blood or bodily fluids, though they are both more highly concentrated in blood than in other bodily fluids, such as semen or wound exudates. Acute HBV and HCV can present on a spectrum ranging from asymptomatic to moderate-severe symptoms, including abdominal pain, jaundice, fatigue, nausea, and vomiting. Chronic hepatitis infections can result from either HBV or HCV infections. Chronic HBV tends to be more severe and is associated with a higher incidence of liver cancer compared to HCV, whereas patients with HCV are more likely than HBV patients to develop liver cirrhosis and associated complications.
1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2009). Division of Viral Hepatitis – Viral Hepatitis. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/
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