What Is It?
Hepatitis is inflammation of the liver. There are several types of hepatitis. The disease has several causes.
One cause of hepatitis is infection. Most cases of infectious hepatitis in the United States are caused by hepatitis A, B or C virus.
An infection with one of these viruses might not cause any symptoms. Or it might cause only a mild, flu-like illness. Hepatitis A is usually a mild short-term illness. But hepatitis B and C often cause long-term (chronic) infections.
Hepatitis D is uncommon. Hepatitis E occurs primarily in underdeveloped countries.
Depending on the hepatitis virus, the infection can be spread in a number of ways. These include:
Improved blood screening techniques have greatly reduced the risk of catching hepatitis B or C from blood transfusions.
Hepatitis has many other possible causes. These include:
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