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Viral hepatitis - Definition


Definition


Viral hepatitis refers to a viral infection of the liver tissues. Different viruses can attack the liver. Hepatitis A, B, and C are the most common, but there are also hepatitis D and E. They are transmitted differently depending on the virus in question, by the accidental ingestion of feces, bodily fluids such as saliva, blood, or sexual secretions, and have various effects. They can be acute, meaning they occur at a given moment and disappear on their own as most cases of hepatitis A, or become chronic after infection, such as in hepatitis C, or more rarely hepatitis B. Acute viral hepatitis usually appears with flu-like symptoms such as fever, fatigue, muscle aches and joint pain, headache and sometimes gastrointestinal symptoms appear, and a yellow discoloration of the skin and mucous membranes called jaundice. Chronic hepatitis is more serious, with possible progression to cirrhosis or liver cancer. Note that other viruses such as cytomegalovirus (CMV) or herpes virus can give hepatitis.
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