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.
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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
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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.
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Hepatitis A and B Vaccinations
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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.