What Is The Difference Between Hepatitis B and C?

Hepatitis B and C are infections that cause liver inflammation. Learn the Key Differences between Hepatitis B and C and how they spread.

The inflammation of the liver due to a virus is called Hepatitis. Hepatitis A, B, C, and D are examples of various hepatitis strains. Hepatitis A, B, and C are the most frequent kinds. Hepatitis A is typically a transient infection. On the other hand, hepatitis B and C can cause persistent infections.  It is interesting to note that both hepatitis B and hepatitis C can infect an individual at the same time.

Hepatitis B

An acute infection might develop within the first six months after the hepatitis B virus exposure. It is indicated by flu-like symptoms followed by short-term sickness.

The mode of transmission of hepatitis B can be through contact with contaminated blood, most commonly transmitted through bodily fluids.

Hepatitis B may be transmitted through intercourse, and a mother can infect her infant after delivery. The hepatitis B infection can be cleared from the body of many patients, while others will develop chronic hepatitis B.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), someone younger can catch hepatitis B; the chances are higher that they develop a chronic illness. It is a common observation that 90% of babies infected with the virus acquire a persistent disease. In the United States, hepatitis B affects an estimated 850,000 persons, although the actual amount might be closer to 2.2 million. Each year, approximately 21,000 new infections occur in the United States. Hepatitis B affects around 257 million individuals worldwide.

Hepatitis C

Acute infection is also possible with hepatitis C. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) states that approximately 75 to 85% of patients who get acute hepatitis C get chronic hepatitis C. Moreover, roughly half of those infected with hepatitis C are unaware of their infection.

In the United States, hepatitis C affects approximately 3.5 million individuals. Hepatitis C affects around 75% of those born between 1945 and 1965. Every year around 41,000 new infections arise in the United States.

Before 1992, anybody who underwent a blood transfusion or an organ transplant may have caught the virus during the surgery. Specialists started testing blood for hepatitis C after 1992 before administering blood transfusions to patients.

Key Differences between Hepatitis B and C 

Mode of transmission

The spread of hepatitis B is via bodily fluids, blood, and sharing of personal items like toothbrushes or razors. In contrast, hepatitis C is spread primarily through blood, poor infection control and childbirth. Sometimes both viruses are spread by contaminated needles, accidental needle sticks, tattoos and body piercing, sexual activity, and mother-to-baby transmission after delivery.

Difference in Prevalence 

The prevalence of hepatitis C is higher than hepatitis B in chronic (long-term) form. Acute (short-term) hepatitis B usually goes away on its own in approximately 6 months. About 60% to 80% of those who get hepatitis C develop a chronic illness, which can remain untreated for decades. The chances of liver damage will be higher with chronic hepatitis.

The difference between Treatment and Re-infection of Hepatitis B and C

More than 90% of patients who haven’t had hepatitis C therapy can be cured in 8 to 12 weeks with newer oral drugs, whereas hepatitis B treatment takes a longer duration or lifetime when required. Hepatitis B has no remedy. However, after recovering from acute hepatitis B, you produce and defend the body against the virus for the rest of your life. You can re-infect with hepatitis C even after being treated with oral drugs if you participate in harmful activities like unsafe sexual activity or sharing needles.

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