What is Viral Hepatitis?

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Viral hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver caused by one of the hepatitis viruses: A, B, C, D or E. The condition could be acute, in other words, short-lived, or chronic. Each of these liver diseases differs with respect to their repercussions, diagnosis, prevention, treatment and prognosis. In a high percentage of cases hepatitis virus infections do not produce any symptoms until they reach an advanced stage and therefore go totally unnoticed.

Viral Hepatitis explained in first person

Professionals and patients explain how you live with the disease
I would say to a patient diagnosed with hepatitis that, “we have very good medicines, which are always getting better. It is a disease that can be cured in certain cases and very well controlled in the others.”
That they should trust in themselves, let themselves be helped and, especially, to trust in their doctors and their medication. And that they can be cured. Hepatitis and cirrhosis can be cured. They can be cured.

Viral hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver caused by a viral infection. This infection could be acute (short-lasting) or chronic (long-lasting).

How many people does Viral Hepatitis affect?

Hepatitis A virus (HAV). HAV has a higher incidence in poor countries. The greatest prevalence is in urban areas of Asia, Africa and South America, where practically all inhabitants are serologically positive. Improvements in hygiene conditions and vaccinations have reduced the number of cases of hepatitis A in Spain. Despite this, there are still outbreaks of hepatitis A associated with risky behaviours.

Hepatitis B virus (HBV). Approximately 2 billion people are estimated to be infected with hepatitis B virus worldwide, of which 350–400 million have a chronic form of the disease. In Spain, around 0.5% of the current population have hepatitis B, while the highest prevalence is in people of an Asian or Eastern European decent.

Hepatitis C virus (HCV). About 70 million people worldwide are infected with HCV. It is estimated that 1% of the Spanish population (475,000 people) have hepatitis C and it is the most common cause of chronic liver disease and the need for a liver transplant.

Hepatitis E virus (HEV). Hepatitis E is common in regions with poor hygiene conditions where it sometimes leads to epidemics (India, Africa, Mexico). It has a higher prevalence across Europe than believed previously and around a quarter of the population has been exposed to the virus.

Substantiated information by:

Concepció Bartres Viñas
Sergio Rodríguez Tajes
Xavier Forns Bernhardt
Zoe Mariño Mendez

Published: 20 September 2018
Updated: 20 September 2018

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