Hepatitis (Viral B & C)

Understand Chronic Viral Hepatitis B & C, and their causes and symptoms.

Hepatitis (Chronic Viral B & C)


What are Hepatitis B and C?

Hepatitis B (HBV) and Hepatitis C (HCV) are viral infections of the liver—a vital organ that processes nutrients, filters the blood, and fights infections. When your body is unable to fight off the infection and you have the virus over the long term, this is known as chronic Hepatitis B and chronic Hepatitis C.

Of the 6 types of hepatitis viruses (A, B, C, D, E and G), B and C tend to me more dangerous, are linked to cancer and are leading causes of liver cirrhosis and liver transplants.


Both hepatitis B and C are spread from person to person through the exchange of contaminated blood or by sharing syringes or needles for injecting drugs or even ink for tattooing. They can also be spread during invasive medical, dental, or other procedures using contaminated equipment. Hepatitis B can be spread from an infected mother to her baby during birth.

It is important to note that Hepatitis B and C viruses are not spread by air food, water, casual contact, such as hugging, shaking hands, sneezing, or coughing.


While hepatitis B is more likely to cause symptoms than hepatitis C, they are both known as silent killers because the diseases develop very slowly over many years or decades, and many patients have no symptoms and don’t even know they are infected.

Common hepatitis symptoms to look out for:

  • Feeling sick, flu-like symptoms such as muscle aches, fever, and vomiting
  • Fatigue and feeling tired all the time
  • Loss of appetite
  • Abdominal pain
  • Sore joints
  • Yellow skin and eyes (jaundice)
  • Dark urine
  • Pale, grey-coloured faeces

“>Symptoms in advanced stages (after liver cirrhosis and liver failure):

  • Build-up of fluid within the abdominal cavity (ascites)
  • Confusion and tremors (encephalopathy) due to the inability of the liver to filter out toxins
  • Vomiting of blood, or blood in the stool (variceal bleeding)

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