Virology and Immunology of Hepatitis Viruses

  • Authors: Esperance Anne Kreek Schaefer, MD, MPH; Raymond T. Chung, MD (More Info)
  • Editor In Chief: Stefan Zeuzem, MD
  • Last Reviewed: 7/10/18 (What's New)

Introduction

  • Viral hepatitides are a widely disparate and heterogeneous group of viruses
    • Can be broadly categorized into enteric pathogens (hepatitis A and E) and parenteral pathogens (hepatitis B, C, and D)
    • Enteric viruses cause self-limited acute infections
    • Parental viruses may cause self-limited infections or progress to chronic liver disease

The 5 major hepatitis viruses are designated as A, B, C, D, and E. Despite a shared host environment in the liver and specifically in the hepatocyte, the viral hepatitides represent a widely disparate and heterogeneous group of viruses. They belong to different families and have different replication cycles. One of these viruses—hepatitis D—more closely represents a plant viroid than human virus. They can be broadly categorized into enteric pathogens (hepatitis A and E) and parenteral pathogens (hepatitis B, C, and D). The enteric viruses cause self-limited acute infections, whereas the hepatitis resulting from the parenteral pathogens may either be self-limited or progress to chronic liver disease.

Hepatitis B Virus

    Epidemiology and Natural History