About Hepatitis – ELPA – European Liver Patients Association


Hepatitis means “liver inflammation”. Sometimes the reason for this is an infection, with which other individuals can also become infected. There are also forms of hepatitis which have other causes and are not infectious, e.g. autoimmune hepatitis, alcohol hepatitis or fatty liver hepatitis.

Liver cells are destroyed in liver inflammation. If hepatitis lasts many years, liver damage or even cirrhosis can occur. One speaks of “cirrhosis” when the majority of the liver is scarred. Complications of cirrhosis may be fatal. Also, liver cancer may develop from chronic hepatitis and cirrhosis.

Viruses, especially hepatitis B and C, are a common cause of chronic hepatitis. According to World Health Organisation (WHO), up to 520 million people on this planet are chronically infected with either virus.

This section is intended to give you a concise overview about hepatitis B and hepatitis C. Many people get confused about the two viruses, but there are many differences between their routes of infection, prevention and treatment.

You will find more detailed brochures for hepatitis B and C at the bottom of each article, and in our Downloads section.