Lesson 5: Hepatitis
Hepatitis, or inflammation of the liver, can be caused by several very different viruses.
Symptoms of hepatitis are universal, regardless if caused by an infectious agent or chronic
condition, and can include fatigue, anorexia, abdominal pain, fever, diarrhea, vomiting, jaundice,
dark urine, and pale clay-colored stools. The mode of transmission, communicability, and
incubation period differ greatly with the type of virus.
In the United States hepatitis A, B, and C are the most common viruses that cause
hepatitis and are of great public health significance. Hepatitis A is an acute disease with little to
no sequelae but with outbreak capacity. However, hepatitis B and C disease can have a carrier
state or become chronic, leading to life-threatening liver conditions.