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Hepatitis Overview

Hepatitis is a liver disease that is caused by a viral infection. The disease affects millions of people both in the United States and worldwide.

There are several types of hepatitis; the main three are hepatitis A, B, and C. Hepatitis A is caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV) and does not lead to a chronic infection. It is found in the stool of infected individuals and usually is spread from person to person by putting anything in the mouth that has been contaminated with infected stool. Hepatitis B and C are diseases caused by their respective viruses (hepatitis B virus and hepatitis C virus-HBV and HCV) and can result in chronic infection. The viruses are blood-borne viruses, which are transmitted during an exchange of blood or body fluids. Vaccinations are available for hepatitis A and B, but no vaccination is available for hepatitis C. Hepatitis A can be prevented through good personal hygiene and proper sanitation, and the risk of contracting hepatitis B and C can be reduced by practicing safe-sex and not sharing needles.

Although different viruses cause these diseases, all three have similar symptoms, if any are presented. Symptoms include jaundice, fever, fatigue, abdominal pain, nausea, and loss of appetite.

Since hepatitis is so prevalent, awareness and knowledge of the different types, transmission, and prevention is essential. For more information, click on hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C, or visit

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