Hepatitis Comparison Chart

Hepatitis A

(HAV)

Hepatitis B

(HBV)

Hepatitis C

(HCV)

Hepatitis D

(HDV)

Hepatitis E

(HEV)

What is it?
HAV is a virus that causes inflammation of the liver. It does not lead to chronic disease. HBV is a virus that causes inflammation of the liver. The virus can cause liver cell damage, leading to cirrhosis and cancer. HCV is a virus that causes inflammation of the liver. This infection can lead to cirrhosis and cancer. HDV is a virus that causes inflammation of the liver. It only infects those persons with HBV. HEV is a virus that causes inflammation of the liver. It is rare in the United States. There is no chronic state.
Incubation period
15 to 50 days. Average 30 days. 45 to 160 days. Average 120 days. 2 to 25 weeks. Average 7 to 9 weeks. 2 to 8 weeks. 2 to 9 weeks. Average 40 days.
How is it spread?
Transmitted by fecal/oral route, through close person-to-person contact or ingestion of contaminated food and water. Contact with infected blood, seminal fluid, vaginal secretions, contaminated needles, including tattoo/body piercing tools. Infected mother to newborn. Human bite. Sexual contact. Contact with infected blood, contaminated IV needles, razors and tattoo/body piercing tools. Infected mother to newborn. NOT easily spread through sex. Contact with infected blood, contaminated needles. Sexual contact with HDV-infected person. Transmitted through fecal/oral route. Outbreaks associated with contaminated water supply in other countries.
Symptoms
May have none. Adults may have light stools, dark urine, fatigue, fever and jaundice. May have none. Some persons have mild flu-like symptoms, dark urine, light stools, jaundice, fatigue and fever. Same as HBV. Same as HBV. Same as HBV.
Treatment of chronic disease
Not applicable. Anti-virals with varying success. Interferon and combination therapies with varying success. Interferon with varying success. Not Applicable.
Vaccine
Two doses of vaccine to anyone over the age of 2. Three doses may be given to persons of any age. None. HBV vaccine prevents HDV infection. None.
Who is at Risk?
Household or sexual contact with an infected person or living in an area with HAV outbreak. Travelers to developing countries, homosexual men and IV drug users. Infant born to infected mother, having sex with infected person or multiple partners, IV drug users, emergency responders, health care workers, homosexual men and hemodialysis patients. Anyone who had a blood transfusion before 1992; health care workers, IV drug users, hemodialysis patients, infants born to infected mother, and multiple sex partners. IV drug users, homosexual men and those having sex with a HDV infected person. Travelers to developing countries, especially pregnant women.
Prevention
Immune Globulin within two weeks of exposure. Vaccination. Washing hands with soap and water after going to the toilet. Use household bleach to clean surfaces contaminated with feces, such as changing tables. Safe sex. Immune Globulin within two weeks of exposure. Vaccination provides protection for 18 years. Safe sex. Clean up infected blood with bleach and wear protective gloves. Do not share razors, toothbrushes, needles. Safe sex. Clean up spilled blood with bleach. Wear gloves when touching blood. Do not share razors or toothbrushes. Hepatitis B vaccine to prevent HBV infection. Safe sex. Avoid drinking or using potentially contaminated water.
External Resources

Hepatitis Branch Division of Viral and Rickettsial Diseases
National Center for Infectious Diseases
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia 30333
Hepatitis Foundation International, 30 Sunrise Terrace Cedar Grove, NJ 07009-1423; 1-800-891-0707