Symptoms and Complications
Symptoms of viral hepatitis vary from nonexistent to mild flulike symptoms (poor appetite, upset stomach, diarrhea, sore muscles, fatigue, headache) to an incapacitating illness characterized by high fever, vomiting, and severe abdominal pain. One of the most notable signs of viral hepatitis is a yellowing of the whites of the eyes; the skin of light-complexioned people can also take on a yellow, or jaundiced, look. Hospitalization is required only in severe cases. Chronic infections with hepatitis B or C are a major risk factor for developing liver cirrhosis, end-stage liver disease, and cancer of the liver, one of the most common cancers in the world (Centers for Disease Control, 2012c; Torpy et al., 2011).