POTENTIAL CAUSES of HEPATITIS
b. Hepatitis Viruses. Currently, these are the recognized hepatitis viruses:
Hepatitis A--HAV, picornavirus.
Hepatitis B--HBV, DNA, hepadnavirus.
Hepatitis C--HCV, RNA, flavivirus, probably more than one type
Hepatitis D--HDV, Delta agent, RNA, incomplete viral particle that can
replicate only in conjunction with Hepatitis B
Hepatitis E--HEV, RNA, one virus, or one family
c. Clinical Picture of Hepatitis. The acute disease is similar in all types of viral
hepatitis. The disease ranges from asymptomatic and inapparent illness to flu-like
symptoms or malaise to fulminant and fatal disease. Severity generally increases with
(1) Major phases. Three major phases can be identified:
Prodromal phase. The severity varies with the patient. Signs and
symptoms include anorexia, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, malaise, headache, myalgias,
arthralgias, pharyngitis, cough, low-grade fever, and so forth.
Jaundice phase. The constitutional symptoms diminish. Jaundice
appears. The urine is dark, and the stools are clay-colored. The liver is enlarged and
Recovery phase. Gradually, the signs and symptoms diminish. This
phase can last anywhere from a couple of weeks to several months.
Complications. Death is rare, but it can occur, as can some other
rare complications. Chronic disease, carrier states, cirrhosis of the liver, and liver
cancer are all potential possibilities with hepatitis B, C, and 0.