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What Is the Difference Between Hepatitis B & C?

Hepatitis B is caused by coming into contact with bodily fluids of an infected person, where Hepatitis C is transmitted by blood-to-blood contact. Both are viral infections that affect the liver, and it is possible to have both Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C at the same time. Many people with Hepatitis C were born with the condition between 1945 and 1965.

Hepatitis B

The Hepatitis B virus can lead to an acute infection that occurs in the first six months and can be marked by flu-like symptoms. You can contract Hepatitis B from coming into contact with infected blood, but the transmission most often occurs through the exchange of bodily fluids, such as during sexual activity, or during childbirth. If the virus is not cleared from the body, it can develop into chronic Hepatitis B.

Symptoms of Hepatitis B can include loss of appetite, dark urine, abdominal pain, fatigue, fever, vomiting, joint, and abdominal pain, and clay-colored bowel movements. When the condition is acute, typically no treatment is given, but when chronic Hepatitis B occurs, it will be treated with antiviral medication.

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Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C can also result in acute infection and either be cleared from the body or later develop into chronic Hepatitis C. Transmission is through blood-to-blood contact which can occur through childbirth, use of contaminated needles, or from blood transfusion previous to 1992 before blood donations were regularly checked for Hepatitis C.

Hepatitis C has similar symptoms to Hepatitis B, and treatment is also anti-viral medications. While there is not yet a vaccine for Hepatitis C, it is recommended that you get vaccinations for Hepatitis A and B to prevent additonal complications when your have Hepatitis C.

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