Hepatitis B is an infectious disease caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV) that affects the liver; it is a type of viral hepatitis. It is transmitted by blood and body fluids from an infected person. It can cause both acute and chronic infection. Many people have no symptoms during the initial infection. In acute infection, some may develop a rapid onset of sickness with vomiting, yellowish skin, tiredness, dark urine, and abdominal pain. Often these symptoms last a few weeks and rarely does the initial infection result in death. It may take 30 to 180 days for symptoms to begin. In those who get infected around the time of birth 90% develop chronic hepatitis B while less than 10% of those infected after the age of five do.
At least 391 million people, or 5% of the world’s population, had chronic HBV infection as of 2017. While another 145 million cases of acute HBV infection occurred that year. Regional prevalences range from around 6% in Africa to 0.7% in the Americas.
The primary method of transmission reflects the prevalence of chronic HBV infection in a given area. In low prevalence areas such as the continental United States and Western Europe, injection drug abuse and unprotected sex are the primary methods,
Hepatitis C is an infectious disease caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV) that primarily affects the liver; it is a type of viral hepatitis. During the initial infection people often have mild or no symptoms. Occasionally a fever, dark urine, abdominal pain, and yellow tinged skin occurs. The virus persists in the liver in about 75% to 85% of those initially infected. Early on chronic infection typically has no symptoms. Over many years however, it often leads to liver disease and occasionally cirrhosis. In some cases, those with cirrhosis will develop serious complications such as liver failure, liver cancer, or dilated blood vessels in the esophagus and stomach.
HCV is spread primarily by blood-to-blood contact associated with injection drug use, poorly sterilized medical equipment, needlestick injuries in healthcare, and transfusions.
Diagnosis is by blood testing to look for either antibodies to the virus. In the United States, screening for HCV infection is recommended in all adults age 18 to 79 years old. Chronic infection can be cured more than 95% of the time with antiviral medications