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The Basic Differences Between Hepatitis A, B, and C

by Dr. Soloman Shah MD

Soloman Shah, MD, a physician practicing at the Reston and Fairfax, Virginia, offices of Gastrointestinal Medicine Associates, PC, is board certified in internal medicine and gastroenterology. Maintaining a specific interest in liver disorders, Dr. Soloman Shah has extensive experience with such diseases as hepatitis.
The three main types of hepatitis all affect the liver and share similar symptoms, but there are several distinct differences between types A, B, and C. These differences are briefly described below:
Hepatitis A: Most often spread through close contact with people who have already contracted hepatitis A, this type of viral infection does not normally result in complications or long-term infection. It can be prevented through vaccines, but livers with hepatitis A heal after around two months.
Hepatitis B: Requiring a longer recovery time (usually about six months), hepatitis B can result in liver damage and long-term infection. It’s found in the bodily fluids and blood of infected people and can be transferred to an unvaccinated individual without any symptoms being evident.
Hepatitis C: The most difficult type to recognize without specific testing, hepatitis C rarely presents with any symptoms, and there is no vaccine for it. Long-term infections are seen in the majority of individuals with hepatitis C, and it may later lead to cirrhosis of the liver.                            
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