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Regional Medical Center of San Jose
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Good Samaritan Hospital
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Symptoms of Viral Hepatitis

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A may or may not cause symptoms. Adults are more likely to have symptoms than children. Incubation is 15-45 days. Hepatitis A does not progress to chronic liver disease.

Hepatitis B

With hepatitis B, symptoms usually appear within 25-180 days following exposure to the virus. Hepatitis B may progress to carrier state or chronic liver disease.

Hepatitis C

Most people with hepatitis C have no symptoms. Over time, however, the disease can cause serious liver damage. Hepatitis C may progress to chronic hepatitis. Incubation is 15-60 days.

Common Symptoms

Symptoms common to all types of viral hepatitis include:

  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fever
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Weight loss
  • Abdominal pain or discomfort
  • Aches and pains
  • Headache
  • Jaundice—yellowing of the eyes and skin
  • Darker-colored urine
  • Lighter-colored stool
  • Itching
  • Rash

Revision Information

  • Overview of acute viral hepatitis. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/hepatic-and-biliary-disorders/hepatitis/overview-of-acute-viral-hepatitis. Updated June 2010. Accessed January 19, 2011.

  • Overview of chronic viral hepatitis. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/hepatic-and-biliary-disorders/hepatitis/overview-of-chronic-hepatitis. Updated July 2010. Accessed January 19, 2011.

  • Viral hepatitis. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis. Updated October 15, 2010. Accessed January 19, 2011.

  • What I need to know about Hepatitis B. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. Available at: http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/liver-disease/hepatitis-b/Pages/ez.aspx. Accessed January 19, 2011.