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Viral hepatitis refers to infections caused by viruses that affect the liver. Viral hepatitis includes five distinct diseases, caused by five different viruses. The different viruses are called by a letter name:
Worldwide, there are approximately 300 million carriers of hepatitis B. Hepatitis B is transmitted by direct exposure to infected blood or bodily fluids. Infants may also develop the disease if their mother has the virus. Patients with chronic hepatitis B infection are at high risk for serious health complications, including hepatocellular carcinoma (liver cancer) or cirrhosis (severe liver damage).
Read a more in-depth article about hepatitis B, written by Johns Hopkins gastroenterologists, which details the anatomical description of the causes of hepatitis B.
Read our FAQs about hepatitis B.
A laparoscopic liver biopsy provides an accurate diagnosis with a minimally invasive procedure.Find out more about liver biopsy.