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What is acute hepatitis?

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner

Acute hepatitis B
Acute hepatitis B is caused by the hepatitis B virus. It is a short-term infection of the liver that causes the liver to swell or become inflamed for six months or less. This form of hepatitis B is less serious than its chronic form and can be transmitted through bodily fluids, including semen, saliva, vaginal fluids, and blood. Symptoms can appear suddenly and range from usually mild to flu-like and last several weeks. Symptoms may or may not occur. However, with or without symptoms, people with acute hepatitis B can develop chronic hepatitis. There is no cure for hepatitis B. A hepatitis B vaccine is available.

Acute hepatitis C
Acute hepatitis C is a short-lived liver infection that leads to swelling and inflammation of the liver. In cases of acute hepatitis infection, early symptoms are rare or mild, and treatment is usually not needed. The infection can last up to six months, but 75-85 percent of people with hepatitis C develop chronic hepatitis C. With or without symptoms, infected people can become carriers and transmit the virus to others.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.