Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver and characterized by the presence of inflammatory cells in the tissue of the organ. It can heal on its own or can progress to fibrosis (scarring) and cirrhosis. There are 5 different types of Hepatitis.
Hepatitis A is caused by eating food and drinking water infected with a virus called Hepatitis A Virus (HAV). It can also be caused by anal-oral contact during sex. While it can cause swelling and inflammation in the liver, it doesn't lead to chronic, or life long, disease. Almost everyone who gets hepatitis A has a full recovery.
Hepatitis B is caused by the virus Hepatitis B Virus (HBV). It is spread by contact with an infected person's blood, semen, or other body fluid. And, it is a sexually transmitted disease (STD)
Hepatitis C is caused by the virus HCV. It is spread the same way as hepatitis B, through contact with an infected person's blood, semen, or body fluid. Like hepatitis B, hepatitis C causes swelling of the liver and can cause liver damage that can lead to cancer. Most people who have hepatitis C develop a chronic infection.
Hepatitis D is caused by the virus HDV. You can only get hepatitis D if you are already infected with hepatitis B. It is spread through contact with infected blood, dirty needles that have HDV on them, and unprotected sex (not using a condom) with a person infected with HDV. Hepatitis D causes swelling of the liver.
Hepatitis E is caused by the virus HEV. You get hepatitis E by drinking water infected with the virus. This type of hepatitis doesn't often occur in the U.S. It causes swelling of the liver, but no long-term damage. It can also be spread through oral-anal contact.
A group of viruses known as the hepatitis viruses cause most cases