Hepatitis means inflammation of the liver, and it can be caused by a virus or other non-viral causes. The main difference between the viruses is how they are spread and the effects they have on your health.
Approximately 570 million people worldwide are affected by hepatitis B or C – that is one in every 12 people. While there are six different types of viral hepatitis (A, B, C, D, E and G) – in Australia, the most common types are A, B and C.
Hepatitis A is a virus that causes inflammation of the liver; however it does not lead to long-term liver disease. Click on the link above for more information.
Hepatitis B is a virus that can cause damage to your liver. Up to 165,000 people in Australia have chronic (long-term) hep B. Hepatitis B is different to HIV/AIDS, or hepatitis A, C, D or E. Click on the link above for more information.
Hepatitis C is a blood borne virus; this means that for transmission to occur hepatitis C positive blood must directly enter the bloodstream of another person. Click on the link above for more information.
Hepatitis A, B and C: A comparison
|Hepatitis||Transmission||Incubation Period*||Chronic Infection||Vaccine|
Contaminated food and water
Contaminated hand-to-mouth contact
|Hepatitis B||Sexual contact
Mother with hepatitis B to her newborn baby
Mother with chronic hepatitis C to her newborn baby (low risk)
*Incubation period: from time of exposure until onset of virus