What is the Difference Between Hepatitis A, B and C

Hepatitis is one of the most common diseases at present.

In this regard, many are interested in the question: “hepatitis a, b and c – what’s the difference?”

The pathology is viral in nature and is caused by five different types of viral agents, which determine the type of disease. The three varieties under consideration differ by transmission and mechanism of infection.

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What is the difference between hepatitis

To the question: “What is the difference between viral hepatitis” experts give a very specific answer. The difference in the three types of the disease is the causative agent, the route of transmission and the mechanism of infection.

Hepatitis A virus (HAV) is found in the metabolic products of infected individuals and is spread by ingestion of infected food or liquids. HAV can also be transmitted through some types of sexual contact.

Most often, the disease goes away easily, most of the infected, after the correct course of therapy, fully recover, and they develop resistance to the previous HAV disease. But without proper treatment, HAV can become severe and fatal.

The vast majority of the population of underdeveloped countries with poor sanitation is infected with HAV and can pose a threat to the rest of the world. Safe and highly effective vaccines against type A pathology have been developed.

The hepatitis B virus (HBV) can be transmitted through interaction with blood particles, ejaculitis, and other body fluids. The infection can be passed from an infected mother to her fetus during childbirth, or from an infected adult family member to her infant.

The spread of the virus is also carried out by transfusion of blood and blood components containing HBV, by injection with non-sterile instruments during medical procedures and by the use of drugs with reusable syringes.

HBV also poses a threat to medical personnel who have been exposed to needle-stick injuries who have come into contact with patients infected with the hepatitis B virus. Safe and highly effective HBV vaccines have been developed.

The hepatitis C virus (HCV) is also often spread by contact with infected blood particles. Infection occurs through transfusion of blood and blood components infected with HCV, through injection with non-sterile instruments during medical procedures, and through the use of narcotic substances with reusable syringes.

In rare cases, the virus is transmitted through unprotected intercourse or from mother to child during childbirth. At this time, no HCV vaccine has been developed.

Viral and non-viral

Viral hepatitis are pathologies caused by infection of the body with a viral agent. Non-viral hepatitis has a completely different origin. They can be caused by toxic substances, alcohol abuse, radiation, autoimmune disruptions, medication misuse and malnutrition.

Ways of infection

The virus is transmitted primarily through blood. You can become infected with it under the following circumstances:

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  • carrying out a manicure procedure outside the home without proper adherence to sterile standards,
  • having intercourse without a condom,
  • applying tattoos with non-sterilized instruments,
  • carrying out dental procedures without proper adherence to sterile standards,
  • blood transfusion,
  • drug injections with a shared needle,
  • non-compliance with safety requirements when interacting with people at risk, doctors or rescue workers,
  • contact with infected metabolic products,
  • eating dirty food and water, which may contain infectious agents,
  • transmission of viral particles from mother to child.

The percentage of infection among men with a non-traditional sexual orientation is high. This population group should be especially careful about their health and undergo regular medical examinations.

Many are interested in the difference between viral hepatitis e and a, since they have the same route of infection. The main difference is that hepatitis e affects not only the liver, but also the kidneys. This type of pathology is quite difficult and can lead to dangerous consequences.


The symptoms of all types of pathology are quite similar and have common manifestations:

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  • feeling unwell,
  • high fatigue,
  • decrease in working activity,
  • elevated temperature in the subfebrile range,
  • an increase in liver volume,
  • pain in the joints,
  • itching,
  • change in the shade of feces to light,
  • migraine,
  • fever,
  • pain in the right side of the trunk,
  • obstructive jaundice,
  • a darker urine color.


In order to start properly treating the pathology, it is required, first, to correctly establish the type of virus, and then correctly assess the general condition of the body. For this purpose, the following diagnostic methods are used:

  • Biochemical blood test to establish changes in the parameters of aspartate aminotransferase, alkaline phosphatase, alanine aminotransferase, bilirubin.
  • Polymerase chain reaction (PCR). The PCR method can detect ribonucleic acid in biomaterial.
  • Liver biopsy to confirm cirrhosis.
  • Radiography of the organ.
  • A general blood test to establish anemia and other concurrent pathologies.
  • Immunoassay to detect antibodies to viral antigens or antigens to ready-made antibodies.
  • Fibrogastroduodenoscopy of the organ.
  • Ultrasound examination of the abdominal organs to determine the volume, structure of the liver and the state of its blood supply.
  • Histological examination to establish the stage of fibrosis.
  • Elastography to determine the parameters of the fibrotic process.
  • Electrocardiography
  • Scintigraphy.


Medicine has made it possible to achieve a lasting remission and a stable immune response even with significant organ damage.

Suppression of the virus by modern medications such as protease inhibitors gives a high percentage of the likelihood of a successful outcome of therapy for a course of up to a year.

The most effective treatment option is the combined use of Ribavirin and interferon, which perfectly slow down the reproduction of the virus.

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Another common method is to take Ribavirin in conjunction with Pegasys polyethylene glycol interferon. This complex helps to minimize the harmful side effects of interferons.

The two-week course of treatment with Copegus and Pegasis is quite popular. The dosage of Copegus should be strictly prescribed by the doctor, depending on the individual pathological parameters of the patient, and peginterferon should be applied at 180 mg every day.

For additional treatment, antihistamines, vitamin complexes, sorbents and hepatoprotectors are used.


Hepatitis A, with proper treatment, does not lead to any complications. With types B and C, the situation is somewhat worse. In most cases, it is possible to diagnose the disease, but too late. Usually, a sick person turns to a doctor only if bright signs of his complications have already begun to appear.

Only after contacting a specialist is it possible to clarify how the disease proceeds. Often, such complications are cirrhosis, steatosis or fibrosis, but their identification speaks of already irreversible changes that have occurred in the body.

They are almost indestructible. That is why doctors emphasize the importance of identifying the disease as soon as possible and starting treatment.

The development of cirrhosis is manifested in the irreversible replacement of parenchymal tissue, after which the functions of the organ are disrupted, and the subsequent development of hepatic failure and portal hypertension.

Steatosis manifests itself in the excessive accumulation of lipids in the cells of the liver parenchyma. It progresses slowly. It is often virtually asymptomatic. It can only be found by chance, using ultrasound.

Fibrosis is a form of oncopathology. It is found more often in men, but it is also often diagnosed for women. Without rapid treatment of the disease, the risk of its progression is very high.

With cryoglobulinemia (a state of the body in which immunoglobulins precipitate when the blood temperature drops below 37 degrees), almost all internal organs are affected.

In pregnancy

Cases of infection of the fetus during pregnancy are rare. This is provided by the placenta, which serves as a biological barrier and prevents the pathogen from reaching the fetus. Cases of infection during gestation are possible only as a result of damage to the blood vessels of the membrane and contact between the blood of the child and the mother.

But at the time of childbirth or during breastfeeding, the likelihood of transmitting the virus to the newborn is higher, which requires the utmost care on the part of doctors and women.

Prevention and safety measures

The main prevention against types A and B is vaccination. First of all, you should pay attention to it. To prevent HCV infection, there are some general rules to follow:

  • When using the same shaving tools, the wearer and the infected should only have disposable accessories.
  • Do not use general manicure devices.
  • When interacting with mechanical damage to the skin (wounds, scratches, etc.), it should be carried out only with disposable gloves.
  • Avoid using the patient’s toothbrush.
  • Use condoms during sexual intercourse.


Viral hepatitis – Dr. Komarovsky’s School.

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Svetlana Borszavich

General practitioner, cardiologist, with active work in therapy, gastroenterology, cardiology, rheumatology, immunology with allergology.
Fluent in general clinical methods for the diagnosis and treatment of heart disease, as well as electrocardiography, echocardiography, monitoring of cholera on an ECG and daily monitoring of blood pressure.
The treatment complex developed by the author significantly helps with cerebrovascular injuries and metabolic disorders in the brain and vascular diseases: hypertension and complications caused by diabetes.
The author is a member of the European Society of Therapists, a regular participant in scientific conferences and congresses in the field of cardiology and general medicine. She has repeatedly participated in a research program at a private university in Japan in the field of reconstructive medicine.