What's in this article?
What is Hepatitis A?
Hepatitis A virus (HAV) is present in the faeces of infected persons and is most often transmitted through consumption of contaminated water or food. Certain sex practices can also spread HAV.
Hepatitis A is a highly contagious liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus. The virus is one of several types of hepatitis viruses that cause inflammation and affect your liver’s ability to function.
You’re most likely to contract hepatitis A from contaminated food or water or from close contact with someone who’s infected. Mild cases of hepatitis A don’t require treatment, and most people who are infected recover completely with no permanent liver damage.
What is Hepatitis B?
Hepatitis B is a virus that infects the liver camera.gif. Most adults who get it have it for a short time and then get better. This is called acute hepatitis B.
Sometimes the virus causes a long-term infection, called chronic hepatitis B. Over time, it can damage your liver. Babies and young children infected with the virus are more likely to get chronic hepatitis B.
You can have hepatitis B and not know it. You may not have symptoms. If you do, they can make you feel like you have the flu. But as long as you have the virus, you can spread it to others.
What is Hepatitis C?
Hepatitis C is a disease caused by a virus that infects the liver. In time, it can lead to cirrhosis, liver cancer, and liver failure.
Many people don’t know that they have hepatitis C until they already have some liver damage. This can take many years. Some people who get hepatitis C have it for a short time and then get better. This is called acute hepatitis C. But most people who are infected with the virus go on to develop long-term, or chronic, hepatitis C.
Other hepatitis viruses also exist and cause a small number of infections. Additionally, other viruses can cause hepatitis even though they are not specifically “hepatitis viruses”. These most commonly include Epstein Barr Virus (EBV), the cause of mononucleosis, and cytomegalovirus (CMV), which causes a variety of illnesses in different parts of the body, especially in patients whose immune function is depressed due to steroids, chemotherapy for cancer, and HIV/AIDS.
What is the difference between Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C?
Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C are diseases caused by three different viruses. Although each can cause similar symptoms, they have different modes of transmission and can affect the liver differently. Hepatitis A appears only as an acute or newly occurring infection and does not become chronic. People with Hepatitis A usually improve without treatment. Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C can also begin as acute infections, but in some people, the virus remains in the body, resulting in chronic disease and long-term liver problems. There are vaccines to prevent Hepatitis A and B; however, there is not one for Hepatitis C. If a person has had one type of viral hepatitis in the past, it is still possible to get the other types.