Hepatitis A is not a chronic infection, whereas hepatitis B and C can and do cause chronic infections. There are vaccines to prevent hepatitis A and B but none for hepatitis C, which makes it more lethal than hepatitis A and B.
According to studies, up to 70% of people who are infected with hepatitis C develop chronic liver disease, and up to 20% of people develop cirrhosis. According to the CDC, up to 5% of people with hepatitis C may die from cirrhosis or liver cancer. The risk of chronic infections is high if infections occur at a young age.
Viral hepatitis is the leading cause of hepatitis in the United States, with the most common culprits being hepatitis B and C viruses, which are transmitted through blood and body fluids. Hepatitis B and C viruses do not always cause symptoms, but if left untreated, they can have serious long-term consequences.
Hepatitis A, B, and C: what’s the difference?
Hepatitis (inflammation of the liver) is often caused by a virus that comes in different strains. The most common strains of hepatitis are hepatitis A, B, and C. They all are contagious, but they differ primarily by the way they are spread.
Table: Differences among hepatitis A, B, and C
|Factors||Hepatitis A||Hepatitis B||Hepatitis C|
|Incubation period||15-50 days (average 28 days)||45-160 days (average 90 days)||14-180 days (average 45 days)|
||No vaccination available; however, research is positive in this aspect|
||Treatment is available||Treatment is available|
Is there a possibility of coinfection?
Both hepatitis B and C can be present at the same time. Hepatitis C may become more dominant, reducing hepatitis B levels in the bloodstream to low or undetectable levels.
Prior to starting hepatitis C treatment, people should have their blood tested for hepatitis B using the three-part blood test (HBsAg, anti-HBc total, and anti-HBs). According to the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases treatment guidelines, people who are currently infected with hepatitis B (HBsAg positive) or who have recovered from a previous infection (HBsAg negative and anti-HBc positive) should be managed carefully to avoid dangerous elevations in liver enzymes that can lead to liver failure.
Latest Digestion News
Daily Health News
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
What are the Difference between Hepatitis A, B and C? https://healthtalk.unchealthcare.org/whats-the-difference-between-hepatitis-a-b-and-c/
The ABCs of Hepatitis – for Health Professionals: https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/resources/professionals/pdfs/abctable.pdf
Top What’s Worse, Hepatitis A, B, or C Related Articles
Hepatitis A (HAV, Hep A)Hepatitis means inflammation of the liver. Hepatitis A (HAV, Hep A) is one type of liver disease caused by a virus. Since hepatitis A is a virus, it can pass from person to person from eating or drinking contaminated food or coming into contact with contaminated materials containing the virus. Symptoms of hepatitis A include stomach pain, diarrhea, dark yellow urine, jaundice, and more. There is a vaccine to prevent contracting hepatitis A.
Hepatitis A Quiz: Test Your Medical IQHow many types of hepatitis are there, and what is different about hepatitis A? Take this quiz to find out!
hepatitis A vaccine (Havrix, Vaqta)Hepatitis a vaccine (Havrix, Vaqta) is used to prevent hepatitis A. Side effects, drug interactions, dosing and storage information, and pregnancy safety should be reviewed prior to taking this medication.
Hepatitis B (HBV, Hep B)The hepatitis B virus (HBV, hep B) is a unique, coated DNA virus belonging to the Hepadnaviridae family of viruses. The course of the virus is determined primarily by the age at which the infection is acquired and the interaction between the virus and the body's immune system. Successful treatment is associated with a reduction in liver injury and fibrosis (scarring), a decreased likelihood of developing cirrhosis and its complications, including liver cancer, and a prolonged survival.
Hepatitis B PictureInflammation of the liver due to the hepatitis B virus (HBV), once thought to be passed only through blood products. See a picture of Hepatitis B and learn more about the health topic.
hepatitis b vaccine (Recombivax HB)Engerix-B and Recombivax HB are vaccinations against the hepatitis B virus.
Hepatitis C (HCV, Hep C)Hepatitis C is an inflammation of the liver due to the hepatitis C virus (HCV), which is usually spread by blood transfusion, hemodialysis, and needle sticks, especially with intravenous drug abuse. Symptoms of chronic hepatitis include fatigue, fever, muscle aches, loss of appetite, and fever. Chronic hepatitis C may be cured in most individuals with drugs that target specific genomes of hepatitis C.
Hepatitis C SlideshowWhat is hepatitis C (Hep C, HVC)? Learn about hepatitis C symptoms, how you get Hep C, contagiousness, and treatment for hepatitis C.
Hepatitis C QuizHow many Americans have hepatitis C? Take this quiz to learn the facts about this chronic disease.
Hepatitis A and B Vaccinations
Hepatitis A and hepatitis B are the two most commnon viruses that infect the liver. Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B can be prevented and treated with immunizations (vaccinations) such as Havrix, Vaqta, Twinrix, Comvax, Pediarix, and hepatitis b immune globulin (HBIG).
Hepatitis SlideshowHepatitis C, B, and A are viruses that cause liver inflammation. Hepatitis B vaccines and hepatitis A vaccines are available. Hepatitis symptoms may not appear for weeks to months after infection. Hepatitis A transmission occurs most often via contaminated food. Hepatitis B and hepatitis C transmission require contact with infected bodily fluids or blood.
Liver Damage CausesAlcohol and acetaminophen are well-known liver dangers, but what else can be harmful? WebMD says some of them may surprise you.
Hepatitis A, B, and C RisksHepatitis C virus and hepatitis B can make an infected person very sick and they are risk factors for liver cancer, liver disease, liver failure, and liver damage. Prior to 1992, blood transfusion was a risk for contracting hepatitis C infection. Hepatitis B and C are blood-borne infections, while hepatitis A is easier to catch, but less serious.
hepatitis A and hepatitis B (recombinant) vaccine (Twinrix)Hepatitis A and hepatitis B (recombinant) vaccine (Twinrix) is a vaccine prescribed to immunize adults 18 years old of age or older against hepatitis A and all types of hepatitis B infections. Side effects, drug interactions, dosing, storage, and pregnancy safety should be reviewed prior to taking this medication.
How Does a Person Get Hepatitis?There are various types of hepatitis, which a person can get by food or water contaminated with the fecal matter of an infected person, sexual contact, blood transfusion, sharing needles, direct contact with an infected person’s blood or body fluid, transfer from mother to the fetus, tattoo needles, or needle prick.
What Is the Normal Range for Hepatitis B Surface Antibody?Learn about how the hepatitis B surface antibody test works, and how its results indicate whether you are immune to the virus or not.
Hepatitis (Viral Hepatitis A, B, C, D, E, G)
Hepatitis is most often viral, due to infection with one of the hepatitis viruses (A, B, C, D, E, F (not confirmed), and G) or another virus (such as those that cause infectious mononucleosis, cytomegalovirus disease). The main nonviral causes of hepatitis are alcohol and drugs. Many patients infected with hepatitis A, B, and C have few or no symptoms of illness. For those who do develop symptoms of viral hepatitis, the most common are flu-like symptoms including: loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, fever, weakness, tiredness, and aching in the abdomen. Treatment of viral hepatitis is dependent on the type of hepatitis.