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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.

The health information in this Health Library is provided by a third party. TriStar Health does not in any way create the content of this information. It is provided solely for informational purposes. It does not constitute medical advice and is not intended to be a substitute for proper medical care provided by a physician. Always consult with your doctor for appropriate examinations, treatment, testing, and care recommendations. Do not rely on information on this site as a tool for self-diagnosis. If you have a medical emergency, call 911.