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:
Hepatitis B: What You Need to Know
- Chronic hepatitis B virus is the ninth leading cause of death.
- Patients with hepatitis B need to be monitored regularly, because there is a higher risk for other health complications.
- There is no cure for chronic hepatitis B; patients take medications to suppress the virus and prevent complications.
- There are a number of ways to prevent hepatitis B, including following the standard immunization schedule.
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.
Why choose Johns Hopkins Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology for viral hepatitis?
A laparoscopic liver biopsy provides an accurate diagnosis with a minimally invasive procedure.Find out more about liver biopsy.